“It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity.”  – Albert Einstein

I remember, back in the Dark Ages, when my friends and I all got our first cell phones. Everyone was excited about our new capability to stay connected – constantly. They laughed at me for being the lone voice of dissent. What was my concern?  I felt strongly, at the time, that our becoming dependent on cell phones would somehow make us less intelligent, less connected and, in a small way, less sophisticated.  Relying on cell phone directories, I argued, would prevent us from remembering important telephone numbers. The convenience of Caller ID, I implored, would increase the number of calls that would go unanswered.

Like Einstein, I feared that our increased dependence on technology could ultimately foster an unhealthy spirit of independence from our fellow man. So, brilliant as he was, was Einstein right about us? Has our increased dependence on technology caused us to short-circuit socially?

Each July, here at Wiles, we celebrate independence and, independents, by showcasing individuals and entities who are defying odds, staking claims and exhibiting unique senses of courage and purpose.  And, as you will see, many of the people featured are employing technology like television and the internet to connect with others with whom they would never normally meet.

Our Fashion & Beauty feature on “Real Housewives of Orange County” star-turned fashion designer Alexis Bellino and her designing partner Tal Sheyn is a prime example of two people from totally different worlds finding a connection.  Check out the spotlight to find out how they came together and created a business rooted in their mutual love of fashion.

In “Purse Strings,” we profile a company that uses social media to bridge cultural gaps for travelers. And our Arts & Entertainment feature is dedicated to independent singers and songwriters who are using technology to introduce new voices and sounds to the music world.

And we are simply overjoyed to feature journalist and host Lisa Ling in this month’s cover story! We talked to her about how her work constantly challenges her to grow as a professional and as a woman as it regularly forces her to confront her own notions of right, wrong and everything in between.

Concerns about the potential downsides of technology may seem like a strange stance for someone who would one day run an online publication to take. But at the heart of my concerns then, and at the heart of everything we do, here at Wiles, is a commitment to exalt that which celebrates the best that we, as people, have to offer.  Certainly technology and humanity can peacefully coexist – as long as we remember that technology is a tool for us to use to improve our lives – not a means by which to live.