Look at Me the Way You Look at Your Instagram Stories

ECAL/Olivia Schenker/Nora Smith

Cataloguing how human emotions have developed throughout the centuries has never been high on the agenda for history logging. But historical moments have an undeniable influence on how the current generation interacts within itself, as a result. The ways we love, the way we neighbour, and how we communicate our feelings.

It’s undeniable, though, that things have drastically changed since liberal ideology has become more powerful, allowing love to be varied, mixed, and inclusive. And as technology quickly advances, it too enables new forms of interaction and encounters to flourish.

With a growing freedom of expression comes a society more tolerant of love in all its forms. In comparison, heterosexual, mono-religious, marital relationship was the only kind of love allowed for all the generations that came before us. Today, socially accepted relationships are no longer exclusively heterosexual, just like they soon might not need two human beings.

From technological devices such as smartphones, and android sex toys, to AI robots, the range of relationships people can develop with non-human entities could easily turn into something far beyond user experience. Because let’s face it, while we’re still discussing whether or not technology has changed the way our relationships are shaped, technology is becoming the epitome of our desire.

Technology isn’t just a mere messenger of emotions: as far as I’m concerned it is the receiver, as well as the giver.

Imagine a sensitive, non-judgmental Alexa that can cheer you up in the loneliest day, an app that knows you so well it tells you what you want to hear, a humanoid entity able to fill your life with tenderness and inspiration, wouldn’t you get attached to it, and maybe, eventually, attracted to it too? And without projecting into a far away future, aren’t we already emotionally engaged with the devices embedded in our everyday lifestyle?

Think about it, the mechanic lilt of Siri’s voice amplified over our iPhone 6 speaker can spark a feeling of familiarity, scrolling down our Facebook timeline can bring us back to old digital memories, and a string of incisive tweets have the power to give us butterflies. And I don’t even want to think about the pain and distraught brought on by a lost hard drive.

Users are blissfully unaware of how proudly they stare into their flawlessly curated social-media feeds. But let me tell you, we are shamelessly attached to our data, and to all the techno-objects so vital to our existence. To the point that the presence of fellow-humans might not be necessary after all.

As psychologist Philip G. Zimbardo writes, “From the earliest ages, we are seduced into excessive and mostly isolated viewing and involvement with texting, tweeting, blogging, online chatting, emailing and watching sports on TV or laptops.” Although it’s hard to decipher whether we are becoming more stint with human-to-human relationship, one thing is obvious: technology is amplifying our ego, allowing oneself to never feel alone, even when no one is around.

The indescribable sense of self love that comes from our interaction with smart devices is becoming increasingly difficult to match in real life love and relationships. If love is doomed to fade into life-long companionship based on compromise, till death do us part, wouldn’t you opt for a 18 month contract with free upgrades to keep a tarnished free version of it all?