Technology is power, and there is no doubt that we have grown more connected through time. But just because we are connected doesn’t mean we are connecting. Two positive trends that have become apparent through technology are the enablement of virtual interactions, as well as, facilitated physical interactions. On the other hand, when there is good there is evil. Some negative tendencies that have become visible are the inability to connect intimately and the loss of value during human interactions. What are the consequences of these findings? Should we accept that internet power is outgrowing human power or is there something we should do to lessen the domination technology has over us?
Technology Mediated Communications
Technology has made a multitude of trends in social media. From fake news to likes on Instagram, to retweets… the list is endless. The internet serves as a source for all information, real and fake, right and wrong, moral and moral-less. No matter what it is you are looking for you can find an article to back up your point. This fake news-trend has given power to people that shouldn’t have power and has taken away talent from people who are extremely gifted. Cambridge Analytica: The Great Hack on Netflix shares how a single company with the right tools can cheat their way to the top whether it be through selling data, a presidential election, or buying data to keep secrets from the public.
People are drawn to one another as video and live streaming continue to grow. Whether through Twitch, “the world’s leading live stream platform,” or Amazon Day Concert. We are blurring the lines between reality and fantasy. Between being somewhere in mind versus being somewhere in the flesh. In some aspects this is great because we can see live streams of concerts that we aren’t able to attend due to the cost of travel, cost of the concert, hotels, etc., however, is this taking away from creating real memories with others? Where is being stuck behind a screen taking you? Is it allowing you to grow? Or are you just left wishing your body was actually enjoying the moment? Sure, you just watched a live stream of Taylor Swift on Amazon and can talk over text message or facetime, but does it actually count? We can see what’s happening but we can’t physically be there. Does this cause us more pain or more pleasure? This generation has been brought to a whole new level of FOMO.
VR is bridging the gap between digital and real world interactions. It uses computer technology to create a simulated environments that are an “alternate realities.” VR is often used in escape rooms to create immersive experiences. It places you in a completely new environment and also serves as a puzzler with game elements in both the real world and virtual worlds. This use reflects humanity on a myriad of levels by bringing human knowledge and technology together towards the same goal. Users in the VR are completely immersed in their make believe reality but are measured against their achievements in their actual reality. VR has been applied to education, entertainment, and pretty much all types of industries. However, mainstream adoptions VR is still beyond reach. Only time will tell how the evolution of this innovative medium unfolds.
Brain Machine Interface
Brain Machine Interface
In addition to technology bridging the gap between places and people, Neuralink is a company in Silicon Valley bridging the gap between technology and neurology. It targets chronic nerve pain without the use of addictive opioids, which in turn reduces the number of drug overdose, addiction, and death. Technology, in the right hands, has amazing benefits with health and will continue to help medicine improve. Elon Musk’s Neuralink plans to bridge the gap completely between technology and humanity through brain implants. Linking human brains to computers may be the only way to not be overtaken by technology. If you can’t fight, why not unite?
Technology that facilitates human interactions
Scooters and e-bikes get people out and about. These electronics encourage people to walk and interact more with each other and the physical world around us. On the other end, walking and biking is healthier. Is technology making us lazier on our feet? Is saving time worth our health?
Self driving cars are right around the corner. Is there anything left that humans can do on their own? Self-driving cars are cool but do you want to know what’s even cooler? Knowing how to drive a car! This is a few steps too far. Soon humans won’t need to know how to do anything on their own.
Many platforms have been created over the years to bring people together such as UrbanSitter and Uber. UrbanSitter is a way to find a nanny or babysitter in San Francisco. It allows parents to search for their ideal candidate and put their children in the best care. This site also allows and shows reviews. But what might be ideal for one parent could be disastrous for another parent, so it’s up to you to decide how you want to choose! Uber is an affordable way to get around cities and towns that connect people through shared rides. I have made friends taking a shared Uber and I’m sure you have too! It’s an easy and stress free way to make jokes and start up conversations! .
Meetup platforms (dating or otherwise) serve as a way to bring people together via the internet to have real life human connections! Many people meet through Tinder and get married; many people meet on tinder and lose hope in an entire gender. Tinder is its own world of extremes. Friends have met the love of their lives, gone on incredible vacations, made lifelong friends and discovered new hobbies through new friends on Tinder. Tinder has allowed humans to find like-minded humans with busy schedules to meet. It is hard to meet people organically when everyone is on a different schedule and works, goes to the gym, runs errands, etc. Tinder has allowed human interaction to increase in many positive areas. Remember that old phrase, “Don’t talk to strangers.” Well, that is essentially what you are doing every time you match someone on Tinder. There are a lot of creeps in this world and allowing people to have access to your bio and your pictures that you don’t know can set you up for some scary stalking situations. But who knows, it may be worth it to find your soulmate.
At the end of the day, the possibilities with technology and humanity are endless. We watch the gap shrink and widen every second between what is, what could be, and what should be. Is this just the beginning of digital interactions replacing physical ones? Or is this the beginning of the end? Will we reach a countertrend and return to real life 1-on-1 and authenticity? Maybe technology has actually brought us closer into the lives of humans than ever before and we just don’t know how to handle all these feelings and information. This rapidly growing fascination has shown us what we are capable of and the fear of the unknown is both breaking and forming intense bonds between all kinds of people. Technology can both bring us together and tear us apart; the question is how are we going to choose unity every single day?