Human Connection in the Digital Era

I’ve just been at the grocery store where 70% of the manned tills are now obsolete, self-checkouts clearly becoming the main way to pay for items.

Visibly frustrated and impatient customers are massed together in long queues in front of both manned tills and self-checkouts.

It just made me nostalgically reflect on how direct human connection is fading in all aspects of our lives…

Amazon are rolling out stores where there’s no need for either tills or cash, a case study that could well foreshadow the future of our shopping experience.

Bank branches are permanently closing, leaving many communities and a significant section of the population marginalised (namely many seniors not particularly digital savvy or merely tech averse). According to a study led by the charity Age UK on the over 75’s, almost over 2 million of that age bracket are not using computers at all.

The dating game is forever changed with the dating apps striving to match people with similar interests. Online dating itself is in a relatively near future expected to morph into or at least cohabitate with virtual reality dating. We are avoiding each other’s gaze in public spaces, public transport being the perfect example.

I’ve been guilty of sometimes exchanging vocal notes with a friend on WhatsApp, when we could just converse in real time instead of doing so with second delays!

There are many pros in the use of technology obviously, so much hassle avoided! We can quietly peruse on shopping websites without being pressured to absolutely go to the till…no more waiting in line to deposit a cheque or make a payment transfer…

The advantages are very much targeted at us as individuals; however, the collective human experience is very much sacrificed. What sort of individuals are we becoming with a drastically diminished common experience – in real life?

I went to a concert last month at the Liverpool’s arena, filled to the brim (11,000 capacity venue) – it still didn’t feel like a unison of hearts, even when we were all chanting our fave songs at the top of our voices. Phones were on to either video the performance or take selfies…surrounded by 10,000 people and no real connection…

I’m deeply convinced that we still deep down long for that common experience; let’s just hope that like in economy, an invisible hand will somehow maintain a balance, so we don’t end up in a total cyborg society.

3 thoughts on “Human Connection in the Digital Era

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  1. After your article on the old man who was alone, this one sounds even more like an alarm. I also linked to this publication that advocates de-digitization on Youtube:


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