On touch, technology alienating humans, senses

Halim brought up a great topic on how computers are alienating us from the outside world… (c.f. finding information from the library might take an hour, but a Google search will take all of 30 seconds – plus don’t forget they scan books now too).

“”…we got out. We saw other people in the street and in the library: a man in a wheelchair, a helpful librarian, folk reading magazines. Although we didn’t speak to anyone, we interacted with them: a nod, a smile, and people saw us too. We were out there in the community.

It’s a pity that our computers have taken us away from other people.”

Really though, what have computers taken away from us?

Nodding, smiling? These are nice, polite gestures, but there’s no love lost, if you don’t do that (to randoms you find on the road). A really common practice in Australia (especially in the smaller cities, like say, Port Pirie even!), but a not so common one in Malaysia.

We have senses. Is it about the senses?

  • Sight – you can see someone via a video-conference. Google has brought this to GMail, so it can now happen in-browser. Skype has had it for ages… 3G video calling means you don’t even need to be chained to your desk
  • Hearing – you can already hear a person… most IM clients now have voice components, and we’ve had the telephone for ages.
  • Taste – I doubt you taste the humans you meet, but maybe this can be locking lips? OK, this is still a in-person thing, if at all
  • Smell – no smells through a computer yet… and smells can evoke emotions… I know the whiff of hair, or even a some perfume can subtly excite someone, so this is still an in-person thing
  • Touch – I think this might be the most important of all the things that computers have taken away from us. Why, later

So, if its a friend, or even an acquaintance, the sight and hearing is all you need. If you’re intimate with someone, taste, smell, touch make sense… so its a given, intimacy doesn’t happen through a computer keyboard.

Touch is important. I dislike touching people, unless I’m comfortable with them and they’re in the inner circle. The other day, I hugged a close friend I’d not seen in over a year. It felt good. Closest human contact I’ve had in a long time (to put it in context, I can’t even remember the last time this happened). I can see the importance in touch, and I wish it happened more often, I guess

Why do I dislike touching people, as a generalisation? Shaking hands… rabid passing of germs!

OK, this is getting on to becoming a pointless rant. I don’t think computers alienate folk – sight and sound is all you really need, for 95% of your relationships (ok, that number pulled out of the hairs on my arse :P). ’nuff said

  • tunku halim

    Good to see you at my blog. I don’t think we’ve met as yet …


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