Not too many years ago, heart surgery involved cutting open your rib cage. Now many heart surgeries can be done through a small hole in your leg. It’s called keyhole surgery. And it involves travelling up a vein to get into the heart.
Think about that for a moment. Imagine what it would be like for someone 100 years ago, perhaps even just 50 years ago to see this. It’s likely they’d either be completely amazed or think it is some sort of magic. Perhaps even sorcery. I haven’t done any time travel and have lived through the period of all these amazing medical advances. And I’m relatively technology literate. And yet, I still find the keyhole heart surgery mind boggling. To be fair, I find many medical devices mind boggling.
Sometimes it’s good for me to remember this. To remember how it feels like magic. And how powerless I feel in the face of the medical technology.
It is good for me to remember this because it helps me empathise with others who experience new technology for the first time. It can amaze but also cause fear as it feels like magic or sorcery. And often when it feels like magic or sorcery, it is because it is unknown. And it can feel like power is being taken away.
The fear around technology often is diminished when we take time to create awareness about it. But not some sophisticated technical discussion; those tend to make it worse. It is like a foreign language is being spoken. Therefore, it only highlights the power differential. When we create awareness of how the technology works in language familiar to the audience, we can relieve some of the tension.
The magic can remain, but fear can be reduced. And sometimes a little magic and awe helps with change.