7 Ways Technology Will Help Humans to Interact and Communicate More in The Future

Written by Shaan Khan

Technology has already left an astounding mark on modern-day communication. The concoction of the smartphone, internet and social media has led to this hyper information age where there is a newfound habit to upload all that we see and think passively. Billions of people from a range of different backgrounds have made their presence online can be contacted just at the press of a button through social media.

We are in a state of knowledge overload; an overabundant yet disgustingly saturated supply of all forms of information that are right there at our disposal at the screens of our tiny smartphones.

“If you can’t or don’t want to travel to India, then simply browse the internet and find thousands of pictures, videos and blogs posted by other people daily! Documenting there every detail of experience so that you can vicariously live through them!” – My impression of a made belief internet salesmen.

As we know, the predecessors to this technology were the telephone and old computer systems and back then, one could’ve only theorised how they would evolve. In this blog, I hope to carry out this goal by suggesting ideas and theories of how modern-day technology can develop and also shed light on new arising technology with its application in line with human interaction and communication.

1. Virtual Reality – 

Virtual reality offers humans an immersive experience into a three-dimensional digital world. It’s a creative expansion upon our objective reality—a virtual space where our imaginations run wild. Once thought to be mere science fiction, is now a widely established commercial product for the masses. Some popular virtual reality headsets include Oculus Rift, HTC Vive and Valve Index.

The headsets are packed with an accumulation of modern-day technology such as high-resolution displays and refresh rates, gyroscopes and motion tracking. Connected to top-of-the-line computers, they can drive the highest of detailed virtual worlds ever to immerse ourselves into worlds like our own, blurring the lines of reality.

There is an emphasis to model the application of virtual reality around human interaction and communication. There is already an extensive array of virtual worlds that offer online functionality. To give a few examples, the video game Rec Room presents users with an online social hub within a virtual gymnasium, where other users can roam and participate in various activities within the space together. Activities include paintball, volleyball and general mischief with objects scattered in the area for users to interact with; giving you that nostalgic feeling of being back in your childhood school playground.

For a lesser restricting space which offers a more ‘unworldly’ experience; No Man’s Sky is a game that allows virtual users to party up and explore a procedural universe in spaceships.

Finally, for productive application; various VR apps and games allow users to join and participate in simulations that cover: Splinter cell covert operations, military skirmishes, naval operation, anatomic surgery and piloting a plane.

So, the modern idea of virtual reality is to offer a variety of separate experiences expanding from entirely fictional fairy-tale worlds to real-life scenarios in our society. As the technology further advances and the virtual words offer more 3D complexity and visual fidelity; we will then be able to witness vast virtual worlds that contain a plethora of activities and experiences all in one place as similar to the real world does. The primary difference would be the added efficiency and creativity to the virtual worlds. We could replicate our most beloved worlds from fictional entertainment; stretching from anime, movies and tv series. Offering entirely new ways we humans would interact and communicate with each other based on what the virtual world’s theme and mechanics dictate.

2. Augmented Reality – 

As virtual reality aims to isolate ourselves from the real world and transport us into a virtual one, augmented reality’s purpose is to combine the two worlds, working in unison with one another. 

Highlighted in Microsoft’s showcasing of their augmented reality prototype; HoloLens, it presented a headset which allowed its user to display virtual content holographically in there surrounding physical space. Some functions shown was: pinning expandable web pages, documents, apps and video players onto real-life walls, also transforming a plain physical table by holographically placing the digital video game of Minecraft onto the physical space.

Picture yourself in an empty room with another individual or a group, the objective of this situation could either be leisure, business or education and what limits you from grasping fulfilment from these objectives is the lack of material presented in your immediate surroundings. In a scenario like this, augmented reality plays a pivotal role in the interaction and communication, as you can somewhat literally pull out digital information from the virtual world and place them around the physical space to aid in communication and incentivise human interaction.

Another aspect of advancement could be in the forms of face to face interaction by combing social media functionality to the real-life space through AR. For instance, social media can highlight details and preferences of an individual in which they choose to make public. In the realm of AR, digital information can be made physically visible when in sight of the user. Visualise it as some sort of virtual bubble, label or pop up menu beside the individual in real life, which can list all kinds of details the user chooses to display, such as whether the user is busy or not or what they are currently seeking.

3. Social Media – 

Social Media that adopts a neoliberal economic model are providing a stable market for some of the most obscure and non-traditional services amongst society today. Some of the more common and well-established services reside with the commercial, food and travel sectors; Uber, for instance, is an app that allows users to register themselves as drivers, then allowing them to independently offer their services as a driver to other users on the application. 

In light of services with a more niche theme; Fiverr offers creative liberty over the services their users wish to provide on the platform. Services typically vary from teaching, advice, work hire and support with any subject, personal situation, workload or skills. 

However, there is no clear theme to the services offered on the site. To give you an idea of the obscure nature of some of the services on Fiverr, browsing the Lifestyle’ section you can find these following services: coaching in competitive video games, relationship advice, trip planning or even hiring people to be your friend. There seem to be very few limitations to the type of services available, and they can be carried out with ease as they rely on well-established voice call and text chat functionality for the service to take place.

The positive stance on this type of social media is that it delivers services quick and accessible through the power of the internet and allows for an expansive catalogue of services by enabling all users to sell on the platform independently.

To put it into perspective, social media platforms like this, that are easily accessible and allow for monetisation over creative services—incentivises human interaction and communication in hopes for positive outcomes such as capital gain, learning a new trade, support with personal issues or obtaining an experience tailored towards you—the user. Therefore, I can see its prominence in the future as a communication tool to aid in all aspects of life such as education, entertainment and work.

4. Livestreaming – 

In the past decade, online live streaming has steadily grown its presence within digital media; having been implemented in almost all the major social media platforms such as YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and Twitch.tv. Amongst their users, they have access to start up their live streams and produce content or view other users Livestream content.

As a common theme with social media, users are giving great flexibility over what content they produce, despite a few set rules—whatever you decide to capture with a camera or computer software—it is entirely up to you.

With a lack of centralisation and professional structuring to content at its core; it allows for content to be more personable. 

Users offer an organic representation of there captured journeys; it’s presented in a relatable way, cancelling out scripting and structure but highlighting an experience that you or your close ones would experience in the same fashion if given the opportunity.

What this brings to human interaction is the blossoming of communities between the live streamers and their viewers; interacting between each other in the chat room and progressively forming bonds with fellow users with similar interests that you can selectively enquire for through browsing Livestream platforms.

A more heart-warming revelation to communication brought forth by live streaming comes from its ability to connect distant family members or close friends. Imagine being lonely at your home or ill in a hospital bed and you hook up to your VR headset or smartphone and join a Livestream of your family at a social gathering abroad. You are now able to interact and be in their very presence instead of being alone, an easy and effective way to socialise and experience the world.

5. Google Stadia –

Officially launching in November 2019, Google’s new product aims to provide a service that wirelessly connects our daily drivers such as smartphones and laptops—to high performance, top-spec PC’s stationed in entirely separate locations. What this means is that it will give widespread access at a fixed monthly cost to powerful computers right from the comforts of our current electronic devices we have right now.

If you wanted to play a visually stunning game at the highest of detail— you would’ve needed a high-end PC. Same goes for other computer functions such as animation and video editing. It also meant for a stationary lifestyle as high-end PC’s are not known for being portable devices.   

If we think back to virtual reality and live streaming, Google Stadia can play a massive role in the future of communication. To explain why, if we seek a future for an expansive virtual world accessed through VR headsets, there are two key points to consider: all users to have high-performance computers to power up the world and a large enough audience to incentivise the development for such a detailed world.

Google stadia will offer the power of high-end PC’s to the masses at a reasonable monthly cost. Eradicating the need for wired connections and cutting the cost of buying an expensive computer. 

All that would be needed and most important in this case is high-speed internet, which Segway’s to my next point; 5G internet. 

6. 5G internet –

As we have found, future technology that improves communication and interaction holds its reliance on internet connection. However, as future communication becomes more visual; more information is being applied to construct these messages, which equates to a need for transferring higher loads of data between users wirelessly. If we want our live streams and virtual worlds to run smoothly, we will need high-speed internet.

5G is set to provide individuals with a high-speed wireless service that you can connect to on the go. The most significant advantage to communication and interaction I see that comes from 5G in response to the technology I listed; is live streaming.

To explain, as users wish to capture and disseminate their adventures and experiences of the world; they will run into the issues of poor internet connection or coverage in certain areas they Livestream. It also is an issue for a user who wishes to Livestream with a 360 camera which uses a high amount of data as it captures all angles simultaneously; ideal to display with a virtual reality headset as it feels as if you are there and looking around.

So 5G is crucial to breakdown these barriers to live streaming so that various types of content can be available to us all.

7. Automated AI –

If we look back into our past, the emancipation from totalitarian industrial labour and the fruition of widespread cognitive labour is greatly attributed to the emergence of automation in machinery; as machines were no longer becoming dependant on human involvement and could function autonomously—shifting the burden from humans and giving us more leeway to pursue work which favours human creativity and communication over repetitive physical labour.

Today we have AI (Artificial Intelligence) that support us in everyday tasks such as finding answers to our question from a digital information database, for example, Google search engine, Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant and satellite navigation guidance. 

The automation of AI currently in the works means to offer a drastic impact on human interaction and communication within present-day society as did the automation of machinery with post-industrial society.

Car manufacturers such as Tesla are investing their efforts in producing a car that can drive purely without human involvement and relies on AI to control the vehicle. By eliminating our focus on driving, humans can instead use the time to interact and communicate; a highly productive means for your average individual devoted to education and cognitive labour.

The more we cancel out mundanity of our everyday lives, we have more time to engage in communication and interaction; AI functioning robots that offer physical capability the same or even greater than ourselves will be the solution to this limitation. A glimpse into this future can be seen in the works of Boston Dynamics; a company that are engineering robots straight out of a sci-fi movie. The state of the locomotion used for the robots gives them movement that is as smooth and versatile as human movement but have superior strength over us; being able to lift heavier weights or even perform backflips with ease without the concern of tiring out.

To conclude, our societies and the way they work, stem from our observations, ideas and communication; these are the foundations to what advances society and humans are necessary for this process to exist. Having robots carry out our day to day mind-numbing task will effectively involve more humans to carry our complex thinking and communication to finding ways to cooperatively boost our livelihoods, finding solutions to prolong life and unfold life’s biggest mysteries.

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