Technology is all about relationships — ultimately looking at humans as intelligent biological machines… it makes sense that our adoption of another bio-machine into our emotional lives would mimic… the adoption of silicon-machines into our emotional lives as well.

Take a look at the Gartner Hype Cycle and Foreign Service Cultural Adoption Cycle curves… not too dissimilar. And then just think about your last few new relationships — the ones that made it, and the ones that didn’t.

Gartner Technology Hype Cycle
Foreign Service Cultural Adaptation Cycle

We’ve got that pattern… of pleasure followed by craving — dopamine bursts driving expectations higher driving us to an unnatural high — followed by the low as the novelty wears off and our unrealistically high expectations aren’t met.

Does your new car or your new toy feel like love? That’s because it probably is. I wouldn’t be surprised if our minds and bodies follow similar cycles as we become blindly attached in the honeymoon and fall into a trough of disappointment.

Real relationships — and technologies that will survive into productivity and succeed in the market (both of which you’ll want to invest in) have value that is strong enough to survive the highs of elation and the lows of unmet expectations.

Eventually, with a technology or a relationship, we settle into a comfortable dynamic. I can call my friend at 3 AM in the morning if I’m really desperate, and don’t worry about scaring them away, after all, we’ve been through a lot at this point! It’s the same with technologies, I can reliably use my cell phone to snap a photo and share it to my friends, but sometimes — sometimes, there will be a bug and my camera will freeze. It’s okay, one mistake won’t make me throw my phone away! It’s here to stay.

So if you’re investing in technology or relationships — it’s about value and emotions and the long run.

Yes, there’s money to be made and pleasure to be had from emotionally unstable highs: the one-night stands or high frequency blips in the market… but it’s a risky game to play.

To play in the high risk zone and consistently succeed requires solid emotional intelligence, tremendous levels of self-awareness, and self-control to stay in the game and stay on top. And let’s be real, will power and self-awareness are limited and hard to cultivate and maintain.

The Gartner Hype Cycle and Foreign Service Cultural Adaptation Cycles reflect something fundamental to our humanity. We want more of what we like, expect more of what we want, we don’t like being disappointed, and we hate what disappoints us! (making for that love-hate dynamic…)

At the end of the day though, we have memory of both the pleasurable and painful experiences — and if it’s meant to last, we choose to stay.

Originally published on Compassionate Technologies


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