One of the biggest fears surrounding technology today is that it has negative effects on meaningful human interaction. From shopping online to spending time on our devices, some imagine we are heading into a future where humans will barely need to communicate with each other at all. But is this really true? Is technology destined to produce a planet of disconnected human zombies?
Technology, driven by humanity
The truth is that technology always has to find its way. But, in the end, the need for human contact or human-like contact still has a major influence on its direction. When you see a group of people staring at their mobile phone screens on a train, most will be interacting with other people in some way. Social media is driven by the need to interact with other humans. But rather than just socialising with a group of people at work, university or in the same locality, social media has fulfilled a desire to connect us with the rest of the world.
People can argue, debate, make jokes and share memories with others from anywhere in the world. In the early days of the internet, the Friends United website brought people who had lost touch back into contact with each other – but it was a clumsy and complicated system. Today’s social media ensures that people never lose that connection, wherever they may travel in the world.
More than anything, this technology has allowed us to maintain relationships and build new ones with like-minded individuals. When people travel, they will often hook up with friends from Facebook or Twitter or make new friends and form new connections that are easy to maintain. The days of meeting someone and then losing touch have all but been eliminated.
New tech embracing the old
Another example of how new technology can evolve for the better by looking to the past is online gaming. When casinos first moved online, many people were not convinced that players would enjoy a virtual gaming experience – but they proved to be popular.
Despite this, developers recognised there was still a demand for human interaction. As technology progressed, they were able to offer a live casino experience, streamed in real time and complete with a real dealer and authentic casino equipment. Players can even interact with the dealers as well as other players just as you might in a brick and mortar casino. This was not possible in the early days of internet gaming – it was only made possible thanks to improved technology.
A connected world
The truth is technology has the ability to connect each and every one of us. Today, people have friends all over the globe rather than just in their town or neighbourhood. And they can all chat, make calls, share images and keep in regular contact with barely any effort. Technology can often provide the cause and the solution to our problems.
But technology continues to replace humanity in other areas. As we move further towards automation, we will need to find more ways to maintain the human touch that we crave. And ironically, we may have to rely on technology to provide the answers.