I wrote earlier about dogs in public and cell phones in public which leads me to wonder what social dynamics will emerge as we continue to integrate technology into our lives. Given what I’ve seen, it seems that people are increasingly averse to face-to-face interactions. Between iPods, cell phones, and pets, people can live an entire day in public without interacting with another person directly. This seems to fly in the face of housing trends. America recently passed an important point in her history: we have over 50% of the population in urban areas and the majority of America’s big cities only continue to grow. Are we as a nation experiencing growing pains as more people are forced into crowded spaces? Are Europeans, who have handled urban living for decades ahead of us, as aloof and passive as Americans? Anecdotally, the answer is no. It is a brave new world.
Sociologists are also interested in the effect of technology on society. As described in this article from the Economist.com, researchers have been pessimistic about changes in technology for years. I trust the human spirit to persevere; like Celine Dion, my heart will go on.