Technology was supposed to make our lives better. It was supposed to make communications better and give us the ability to express ourselves in a rational, thinking manner. The results at present do no lead me to believe that it is doing very well in the art of human interaction. Conversation seems to have become a dying art, lost to past generations. The age of information has become the age of an unrelatable world, that lacks empathy, understanding or the willingness to connect through conversation.
I do not know what will happen when people spend their lives trapped in a VR or AR world. Frankly, I’m not sure that world is one I would be able to understand as a viable human existence. In a world without conversations, there is no mutual understanding. There is no empathy, there is no soul in worlds where people do not converse.We risk becoming automatons without emotion and to what end? These words cannot convey context in a manner so refined and elegant as conversation. This is simply text on a page. I may convey some simple meaning, but this can easily be misconstrued, misused and misunderstood.
Human understanding requires the context of body language along with words, inflection, tonality and perception in order to convey intent. We have one of the most highly developed sense of conveying meaning through conversation, but are unfortunately destroying that through improper programming of the human species to become addicted to the screen versus the person. The screen is not the correct focus. We’ve become addicted to tools over an addiction to people.
I argue that this makes for a population that is literally afraid to converse with other humans. It’s awkward to have conversations with some folks. The widened eyes that appear when another human speaks to them in public makes me think that people will at one point run away when someone says ‘hello’ to them. Covid has not made things any easier for anyone, but the addiction to screens has exacerbated the problem of the lack of conversational skills to a degree that makes me wonder if love will one day devolve into two people texting each other in the same room,
It isn’t simply a problem of generations (though many may wish they could use that tired old stereotypical excuse meant to divide us), it’s a profound issue that prevents people from holding polite and interesting conversation; further, empathy is lost when there is only text on screens. One the greatest things in life is the ability to speak to others, for you can build a sense of camaraderie, empathy and partnership when you speak to others far easier than through a wall of text.
If the AR or VR world is supposed to offer meaning, that is even far nuttier than I can imagine. I see use as a tool but never as a full-on replacement for reality itself. Now, if the replacement keeps folks from destroying our world. that may be a good thing. However, I fear all we will achieve is that people will be so lost in some altered universe that they will fail to see their own demise whilst the planet comes to an untimely end.
We were designed to see, think, speak and react upon the stimuli of the real world. If we use technology to remove the real, we are using our tools to remove ourselves from understanding or even seeing the clues that should be guiding our actions.
If there is one thing that I would recommend to everyone, it is simply to try to connect with your fellow human beings. The world is a wonderful place if you can make yourself focus on seeing others and not denying their existence.