Humans are more connected than ever before…in a technological sense anyway. From the moment we wake up, we have a world of opportunity at our fingers tips. It’s exciting, but it’s not without its downfalls. Are we really connected?

Aren’t we just reading words on a multitude of screens all day and awarding them equal value with our physical interactions. They’re not the same, but we could now be expecting less and less from our relationships.

You can’t move for think pieces about whether we’re hurtling towards a utopian dream or a dystopian nightmare. The truth is, no-one can predict the future but we can all think about what makes us human and what makes us better than technology.

Togetherness

Humans don’t like feeling lonely and it isn’t good for us. It’s a fact. Lonely doesn’t have to mean physically being alone; you can be in a room full of people and still feel a sense of isolation. Working towards a way of not feeling lonely is something that humans will always strive for. Technology has given us a way to keep in touch with people, but when was the last time you saw some of your friends?

You might have spoken on Whatsapp but you haven’t been in the same physical space for months. The chances are that these predominantly virtual relationships will not feel as rich and fulfilling as a physical one.

There is no substitute for physical, social interaction. The social cues, laughter, touch can’t be replicated. Technology will always be an enabler, not a replacement for social interaction.

Context

We are always searching for context and meaning. What did she mean when she said that? Did you see his body language? We need context to understand other people and ourselves better. Humans look to have relationships with people that they feel understand them or can offer them comfort.

This comes from social cues, touch and tone. The way someone says something can make us feel better. The subtleties of human interaction can’t be captured through technology.

Personalization

The world of digital marketing is searching for new ways to make the user journey more personalized, as customers look for loyalty and authenticity in the brands they buy from. There are ways of doing this, but it’s difficult to trump the personalized experience customers can have when they visit a service or interact with an employee. Even something ‘old school’ like a phone call from a member of a team can make customers feel valued and they can pick up valuable social cues and a level of empathy that can be lost in technology.

Understanding

Even on a basic level, when we want to persuade someone or get a person to understand our perspective, there must be a level of understanding between two people. Chatbots are increasingly being used in customer service roles, but sometimes we don’t want to be faced with an algorithm that supplies cold information or solutions, without human understanding or perspective.

Humans can work together to reach solutions by emotionally bartering with each other and offer an emotional intelligence. Humans will always want to talk and listen with each other because it helps us learn about ourselves.

Emotion

Technology cannot capture the wide, colorful range of human emotion that exists. Human beings can’t fully understand the complexities that exist in others, so how can technology understand.

We will always have our emotions and our responses to make us unique, different and human. Technology will struggle with emotional intelligence when it isn’t something tangible or even logical.

Creativity

We live in a world where creativity is all around us. The music we listen to, the shows we watch and the paintings we look at all came from people being creative. There will always be a desire to make things, create things and use our creativity.

Technology can do things for us, but using our own ideas and creativity to make our mark on the world and craft something gives us achievement, esteem and most of all, it’s fun.

Technology can help humans to be more creative, but it cannot replace original ideas. One tongue-in-cheek example of a creative idea is Netflix’s Black Mirror, which offers some great, horrifying, sad and funny social commentary on our relationship with technology.

Experience

Most of us will make decisions based on the experiences that we have and it isn’t always black and white. Technology might be increasingly used to make decisions and guide direction, but it can look at things in a binary way.

Humans use their vast experience and enlist the help of others with more appropriate experience or better experience in specific situations. Our experience is what makes us human and most people use it to their advantage.

Key Takeaway

Our interactions with others and the art of listening, talking and understanding are what make us human. Technology can make it easier to enable these conversations and no matter what developments we see, whether it’s augmented reality or chatbots, we have to use our experience to decide how far we want technology to help us.