Remember the last time you couldn’t find your phone? The surge of panic, the overwhelming anxiety, and the sense of being incomplete consuming you all at once. You felt lost and alone, maybe even a little betrayed.
Do you consider this to be a healthy relationship?
Studies are discovering that the interactions we have with our phones actually release dopamine into our system, giving us a high every time we use them. This is creating an addiction to their use.
We feel as though we have a committed relationship with our phones. Many of us are reaching for them before we are reaching for our partners or loved ones in the morning.
They do have their uses, and those uses are important in our daily lives. They lock our doors, start our cars, clean our floors, order toilet paper; you name it, phones can do it. But what happens when we don’t have to leave the comfort of our couch because digital can get us whatever we need?
Do we really need to interact with people to live a full life?
Digital Relationships with Non-human Entities
The emergence of technologies such as Alexa, Google Home, and Siri allow people to form digital relationships with non-human entities.
Every day, companies are coming out with realistic robots featuring physical aspects that make it more comfortable to connect with. Vector and Cosmo are two of these technologies encouraging interaction and bonding by using a cute appearance and emotion-filled eyes. When people begin to form relationships with non-human items, the chances increase that relationships with humans are not being nurtured.
“Younger generations are struggling to hold conversations and look people in the eye when they are speaking to someone, but they can ask Siri to tell them a joke or get Alexa to order them a pizza.”
The future looks bright but this is only the glow from their phone screen.
Digital technologies have made life easier and challenging at the same time. They can coordinate our schedules through calendar applications, protect us with smart home systems, and link all aspects of our life through the Internet of Things but this isn’t everything humans need to be successful.
Human contact is what keeps our species linked to one another. Interaction with others is essential to positive mental and emotional well-being. Now artificial intelligence and robotics are advancing to the point where we are unable to differentiate between speaking with a human or a machine. It is becoming more challenging knowing exactly who, or what, we are interacting with.
Could our future be on the path predicted in the Terminator movies? Advancements in AI seem to be getting eerily close to Skynet’s rule of the earth.
Imagine if someone, or something, took control of your Roomba and turned it against you! There is a fine line between helpful and harmful. As technology advances, we walk this line with little concern for the ramifications of what could happen if we go too far. Once the genie is out of the bottle, it is extremely difficult to get it back in.
Look at your life and how you use technology. Is it more important for you to send a text or speak with the person right in front of you?
Everything in moderation makes for well-rounded relationships with both technological and organic beings.