Future of Communication- Jacqueline Briggs

One of the most dominant features of technology has become its evolution of the way in which we communicate with one another.

This innate need to strengthen communication between individuals can be seen as the driving force behind technological advancements. However because of this it has now become a universal fear and an unreasonable balancing act between what technologies bring to social interaction and subsequently what it can take away.

As Albert Einstein stated, ‘It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity.’

The day has arrived-2

It has come into question whether technology in the future will slowly replace physical human interactions. This fear has been rationalised out of our present day reality, whereby our lives are becoming more consumed by our smart phones, Internet, texting abilities and social media. While there are positives and negatives in regards to these, one universal agreement is face-to-face interaction has decreased. As explored within the book Alone Together, by Sherry Turkle,[1] it describes that within our modern life we have become less connected with people and more connected to the situations around them.

Businesspeople Using Cell Phones --- Image by © moodboard/Corbis

It is no secret that humans need direct physical contact to grow and develop. Research Ofcom’s annual Communications Market Report[2] stated in 2010 that people spent an average of seven hours a day using technology. Therefore this screen-based communication is unhitching us from our natural instincts and reducing our tactile means of interacting. Quantified Impressions, a communications analytics company suggests that people should be making contact at least 70% of the time to create an emotional connection.

According to Dr. Grey Small and Gigi Vorgan[3], ‘Daily exposure to high technology- computers, smart phones, video games, search engines such as Google and Yahoo- stimulates brain cell alteration and neurotransmitter release, gradually strengthening new neural pathways in our brains while weakening old ones.’ Therefore constant exposure to digital technology means that our brains are literally rewiring themselves.

Small and Vorgan continue to claim that we therefore are at risk of losing personal touch with our real-life relationships and may experience an artificial sense of intimacy as the alternative. Thus if we continue to use technology as our primary source of communication it is only a matter of time before we lose important social skills.

The desire to retain this hyper sense of communication will not go away and thus if we recognize the need for our sensors to be stimulated our technology will advance to accommodate this. Many people have begun to realize this need of sensory communication within technology.

Joanna Montagomery, Founder of Little Riot, who invented, ‘Pillow Talk’[4], has taken this human need in mind when designing. ‘Pillow Talk’ allows you to connect with long distant lovers via a pillowcase device, that transmits the real time heartbeat of your loved one thus creating a more intimate interaction. She believes that communicating via screen-based technology has become cold and two dimensional.

Pillow Talk smaller_860

The Movie ‘Her,’ directed by Spike Jonze[5], also follows en suite with an artificial intelligence that directly communicates with the person using a conversational tone. Rather than looking at the screen the user can now feel as though they are interacting with a person, thus using more human sensors.

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If the future can therefore enhance our communication by humans utilizing more of their sensors, communication will therefore become more rewarding, fulfilled and healthy. That is if it doesn’t overrule physical human interaction completely.

Futuristic communication

[1] Turkle, S, 2011. Alone Together. 1st ed,: Basic Books.

[2] 2014, Ofcom, Communications Market Reports, < http://stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk/market-data-research/market-data/communications-market-reports/&gt;.

[3] Small, G and Vorgan G, 2008, ‘Your IBrain, How Technology Changes the way you Think, Scientific American, <http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/your-ibrain/>.

[4] Montgomery, J. 2014, Pillow Talk, < http://www.joannamontgomery.com/Pillow-Talk&gt;.

[5] Her, 2013. [DVD] Spike Jonze, America

O’Donoghue, Z. “Friend Me”, The Impacts of Technology on Human Interaction, < http://www.eckerd.edu/academics/ford/files/11/Zoe_ODonoghue.pdf&gt;.

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