I've had a few conversations over the last few weeks about our modern state of connectedness, and right now my Facebook feed is filling up with photos from several vacations happening in near-real-time. This Gizmodo article looks at the impact of Instagram sharing on the concert experience, which both takes away and adds to what we traditionally define as being present at a concert, and absorbing – really feeling – what it's like. There are drawbacks to every instance of this now, as long as our interactions are still device-oriented. Every photo you post or update you send on holiday takes precious seconds away from the view, or breaks conversation once sacred and uninterrupted with one's travel companions. Looking at a screen breaks gaze, and advances in technology to change that are far off.
Most people reject this behavior, and I can understand why, but it's of interest to me that we push this envelope against the grain of comfort, make the sacrifices inherent with any pioneering generation, and see what this connectedness can serendipitously bring us. The immediate countable benefits are obvious: live restaurant recommendations from friends who've been in the same part of Tokyo before, location-aware mapping and transport data, photos and video from a concert you couldn't attend, a greater sense of involvement with a friend's life, and so on. It's what else might come silently with these that I care about. More highly developed neural pathways for social interaction, greater pattern recognition in relationships, augmented emotion, the end of the long-distance relationship. There's so much to be excited about.