Technology is evolving at a breakneck speed. This is revolutionizing every aspect of human existence including our relationships with other humans be it your parents, your spouse, kids, boss or anyone.
In this post, I would want to discuss how things will change in respect to relationships especially when you are looking to find a partner. The change in expectation will be immense, accepting our own insecurity will be crucial. And in a developing country like India, the fight is colossal.
This new age of interconnectedness will restructure the world. You can take a peek right now. The rise of What’s app and it’s sale in 19 Billion is self-explanatory. The focus on chat apps has increased manifolds. With Facebook investing in FB messenger, WeChat etc. the landscape is changing very fast. And the reason for these massive investments is the change in human behavior- People like to text more than talking to someone on a call. There is an aversion to phone calls. I am not sure of the reason but it is very evident. And it is not just with the new age folks it is everywhere in top cities. Business happens on text, breakups, and hookups happen on text, life is moving on texts. If we go by data things changed dramatically.
Let’s see what technologies like 5G will do.
Imagine a world where not just people but everything is connected to everything else. All your devices are connected to each other and your experiences. Smart homes, smart cities will enable smart relationships. The way we interact with things will change. The difference between animate and non-animate things will reduce. Your house will talk to you, wake you up, buy your groceries, let your doctor know if you are not well, plan your next vacation and more. Your car will go by itself to a gas station and get the fuel. Maybe you can have an alter ego who will take care of your relationships as well. Call them, text them talk to them, send them anniversary presents etc. This is due to happen. Driverless cars are already happening. All this needs massive connectivity. And 5G enables this.
We will enter a world where every basic thing is taken care off, your emergency medical requirements, if you need something it will be at your doorstep with just a thought, or you want to chat with someone- bots are already there. The constant need to be with someone has reduced and will further go down.
In terms of society, it will enable a lot more women in the mainstream, dating landscape will change and marriage will have a different meaning, co-habitation will increase. With more women in the workforce, there will be less time to devote to the family. Stereotypes will shatter. What does it mean for the people in general? If you have constant need to be with your partner it is not going to happen. You will have to dig deeper and find your own self and learn to be with it. Know thyself or a machine will help you do it. We will save massive amounts of time.
The question is what we will do with this saved time. Humans for once will be compelled to look within themselves and reflect. The most important skill to survive will be to learn how to be alone. To drop our own insecurities, about our partner and everything else.
How does this work in the personal space? What are we doing now and how will it change?
Here is an example. I was trying to date a guy. We were located in different cities. I run my own company and I am more of a text person. I find voice calls draining and intrusive to my space. And when you are trying to get a hang of another person you will need more space, you cannot work in a time box, a text is a preferred way rather than long calls. When you get comfortable with someone the move on to voice calls happens. Things did not work out because our expectations were different. I would prefer texting to know each other better rather than voice calls, the need for personal space or the “me time” for each one of us was varying a lot. I am okay with a long distance relationship as I don’t experience a constant need to be with someone all the time. Maybe I have developed new interests and things I want to do.
The rise of “me-time”.
Technology and mass collaboration have enabled new diversions and interests. Now it is not just watching tv or going out for dinner dates. People want to do “what they want”, want to “live the way they want”. People like to do a lot more alone. If we go by data solo trips have risen from 5% in 2011 to 16% in 2018. This change is powered by technology- apps that help you navigate easily, language translation, internet enabled messaging and more.
Will technology enable long distance relationships?
Yes, it will definitely. People will have more time, and more alternatives to choose from that the internet will make possible. I believe people will be more self-reflecting and would need more space as compared to this generation. Hence the need for being with someone constantly will diminish. The internet and the new information will create new kind of opportunities and interests. People will form new relationships with inanimate objects and that will consume time.
Is this scary? Maybe, maybe not.
Virtual reality and virtual relationships.
“Man is a virtually social animal.”
Back in 2010 Zynga produced amazing games like CityVille, FarmVille etc. They were a massive success and has made Zynga what it is today. The underlying common theme is mass collaboration. You can start building the city or a farm, buy livestock, bring people into it, build a home and so on. Virtual reality has enabled similar environments on a different level (more human levels). Soon we will have games or environment that gives us feel of our own families we were born in. AI will fetch data on each of our family members, friends etc., our relationship with them. Exactly similar looking and acting family members can be constructed in the virtual world with this data. These virtual families will satisfy the human need for social interaction. We will be more of a “virtual animal” rather than a “social animal”. Virtual families, we can talk with, meet inside the games, have a relationship with and maybe start a family with will come into existence.