While focused at work today, one of the senior executives exclaimed:

“Imagine if the phone had been invented after email.”

This instantly got me thinking.

Ignoring that the sequence of events that sprouted the internet were dependant on ‘the phone’ being created – there is something to be gleaned from this charming question.

Think about this.
If the phone had been invented after email, people who previously felt  a social disconnect would suddenly discover a new way to connect. Voice. With it’s warmth, tone, inflection, and lack of ‘back space key’. Their communication suddenly takes a step toward connectedness.

Using this new technology, they would be forced to have more fulfilling interactions day to day. No longer are they just an email address.

Why is this fascinating?

  • The invention of email increased efficiency (debatable of course) and decreased the feeling of social connection – as compared to phone calls.
  • Imagine if something was invented today that truly increased efficiency AND the increased the feeling of social connectedness. An opposing force to the ‘social disconnectedness’ of our time. A cure.

Imagine a world where we can benefit from the convenience and efficiency of advanced communication technology over the internet and have truly meaningful relationships with friends, family and lovers. Digital relationships that fulfil us, and could permanently replace face to face. I could suddenly reconnect with my family who live in New Zealand and it would be like I never left.

It’s a fresh perspective to think this social issue could be but a blip on the radar of our time. The feeling of social disconnectedness could just be a mainstream phenomena that lasts only 10 – 20 years. Soon – it won’t be a thing we talk about any more.

Right, I need to get back to work…

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