We’ve never lived in an era more connected by technology and yet we hear about an increasing epidemic of loneliness, is technology really to blame?
A lot has been written about the damaging effects of social media. It is also a lifeline for those battling isolation because of circumstances outside of their control (sudden loss of a partner, illness, anxiety). We’ve also moved into an era of hyper-connectivity where the nature and format of how we work have morphed and evolved. Working from home is more commonplace with remote access to teams, flexible work times and business leaders globally.
In working with our coaching clients many entrepreneurs feel a sense of loneliness often challenged in the sometimes-isolating role of CEO, the increase of hot-desking and co-working spaces often contributing to some relief in the social isolation of starting a new enterprise.
We are seeing technology developed to combat loneliness such as products like the CaT Pin a wearable brooch tech that tracks the wearer’s conversation, sending alerts to family or carers at signs of social isolation.
With advanced natural language processing and machine learning plays a big part in many of today’s messenger bots such as Woebot.io can converse comfortably with humans and answer queries on demand and do so with a distinct personality.
Astrid Weiss, a human-robot interaction researcher, described in a TEDx talk stated that “It doesn’t make a difference. It’s not reasonable to treat a computer like another human. We simply do it; it automatically happens because social interaction is a deeply rooted human need.”
At Earth2Mars we see and experience many deep connections that started their life in online interaction. We are in fact curators of our social media feeds and instead of just presenting the highlight reel of the ‘greatest hits’ there is an opportunity to share vulnerability (in a safe space online with people you trust) allows for friendships to develop when warmth and empathy are the response from sharing.
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