Paul Cantor

April 22, 2012 at 9:22pm

The Flight From Conversation →

If you have to make time for conversation and seriously remind people that it’s important, is it that important? I don’t know. Maybe that battle has already been lost. Maybe the things that used to come along with conversation and real human interaction has fallen by the wayside, because how a human exists, how a person thinks and how a person feels, has completely changed.

There is definitely a practical human connection lost in the digital space we currently reside in, but to me it seems one would need to have understood that human connection in the first place to know it’s gone. And there’s definitely a different type of emotional connection that people make through social media. Not everyone sees these platforms as harbingers of transient communication.

Really, what all these devices are— whether it’s a smartphone, computer, tablet, whatever— is the front end of a terminal. The terminal connects to a network that puts you in touch with everyone and everything else. All the information and all the conversations you ever want to have, are right there for you. But you need this device to connect. And that’s why we lament the loss of human connection. Because we’re turning to the device to connect us to what we want, where we used to turn to others for that.

The answer to all of this is to get rid of the device, and to connect us all to this giant network of information and connections without needing the front end. Every time I look down at my phone and access the web for a piece of information— whether it’s active, like I’m getting it through conversation; or passive, where I’m getting it from a web page— I’m basically adding a step into this information flow chart that theoretically doesn’t need to be there.

There needs to be a marriage of the web— where all this is taking place— and the human body and brain. If I’m looking down at my phone all day, I’m already partly a robot, in some sense or another. If we can ever figure out how to remove the device— remove the front end of the terminal— but keep the access to the network, we can go back to having conversations with the people in front of us. Because then we won’t be looking elsewhere to connect. We’ll have it right there inside of us.

So far, even if the technology isn’t completely up to speed, the Google Glasses are the closest to what I’m talking about.


  1. paulcantor posted this