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May 11, 2015

The Next Evolution

Filed under: Main — admin @ 12:01 am

Maybe no civilization has ever conquered space because each planet grows to a point where it invents the Internet, then cell phones, and then the place goes dark.

Despite its overwhelming ability to connect people, the sharing economy has done more to keep us apart than bring us together. Consider Figure 1.

Figure 1. Link.

Figure 1. Link.

I’ve read articles recently on dating and marriage today verses 50 years ago. The stereotyped image of a young man with a bouquet of flowers walking up to his sweetie’s front porch has been replaced. Today it’s a text message: You text to go out. You text to break up.

It’s not just dating that’s disconnected. Imagine a married couple where one spouse will be late coming home from work.

Way back when, you’d phone. Your spouse read the emotion in your voice. You’d chitchat. Today it’s a cold, brief text message: “Gonna be late. Have more work. Ugh.” Despite the “ugh” the text message is devoid of emotions. It’s icy and blunt.

I read an article recently where the author explained how he and he wife didn’t even speak when they were in bed together. She would text him, “Good night,” while he was reading his eBook. That’s a crummy existence.

In a further effort to remove humanity from human beings, Google is working on an immortality project. Even if it’s successful, I can’t get excited about speaking to my departed grandparents when they exist as virtual bits inside some machine.

Advances in science and bionics will change medicine soon. As with most items in the sharing economy, the goal is purportedly to offer more ways to connect people, as this article describes.

With all that excitement going on, my observation is that we are drifting apart, not together.

Humans are herd animals. We need interaction more than we need digital connectivity. Consider how many potential suicides have commented, “If just one person would smile at me.” And no, I’m not talking about an emoji smile.

Technology is a tool. It’s a great tool! I love my gadgets, but I don’t wrap my life around them. I think too many people are buried in their digital personas to forget how and why human connection is important. For me, nothing underscores this more than the hollow expression of condolences through social media: “My thoughts and prayers are with you.”

Please! If you truly feel for someone, take their hand and talk with them. Hug. If not, we lose those things that make us human. And when that happens, we’re doomed as a species.

More Cartoons: How Smartphones are Killing Conversations

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