Human relations in the last generation are changing rapidly in accordance with the changes in technology: the effective communication of written messages has long supplanted telephone calls. Short clips have become a central media in documenting reality. Now the emoji threatens to make words redundant. And what will happen to our relationships? Is it possible to build an infrastructure for meaningful relationships in the digital realm?
Sherry Turkle, who studies the impact of the cyber revolution and social networks on the psyche of the individual, points to a significant increase in the reporting of the rate of loneliness and depression among the users of “social” networks. In an ironic reversal of the name of those networks, many young people born into more available and accessible communication than ever before, who seek a flawless image and are enslaved to “likes,” lose social skills and the emotional richness of complex relationships.
In her book “Reclaiming Conversation,” Turkle points to the difficulty of building interpersonal relationships based on empathy in the online space. She wishes to reverse the trend of flattening and shallowing that blocks in-depth acquaintance and meaningful discourse. Empathy-based communication, according to Turkle, is a primary psychological and social need. Turkle challenges academics and entrepreneurs with a call to bring about a change in the impact of technology on the soul of the individual and the culture of the community.
Is it even possible to leverage technology not only to expand the choices for creating social relationships, but also to deepen them? Can technology be used to create human intimacy?
The answer to these challenges may lie in the significant technological development of audio media. In a recent conversation I had with Ari Emanuel, CEO of the content and entertainment technology giant – WME Endeavor, he claimed that we are on the brink of the age of voice. Our innate ability to speak merges with the evolution of voice technology as the operating system of our lives.
Michael Kraus, of Yale University’s School of Management, claims in an article in American Psychology that people perceive a richer and more accurate range of emotions from pure sound than they do through visual media. Voice communication makes it easier to identify emotions and is conducive to arousing empathy in social interactions thanks to the focus on the content of the words, and on the vocal and linguistic cues accompanying speech.
More than video filming, which diverts attention from the voice to the image, voice recording produces more authentic, more charged, perhaps also more direct spaces of conversation, ones based on mutual trust and a sense of closeness.
Using sound technology and cartography (map) will allow every person to record in their own voice the reality of their life in the place of its occurrence. As a social network, the My Record platform is designed to allow a person to deal with the alienation and loneliness that many users of existing social networks feel. In the personal dimension, this is an opportunity for personal meetings, new or renewed, meetings in which we can tell, listen, talk, and understand each other. And in the socio-cultural dimension – an opportunity to strengthen and enrich our community soundtrack.
Boaz Tamir, ILE.