Technology, Social Interaction and Covid-19

This article talks about the impact of coronavirus or COVID-19 on social interaction.

During these times when everybody is in self isolation or, at least, trying to be in self isolation, I do get to hear from my friends and relatives that they do not like being at home and are missing the human interaction. I find a big flaw in these assertions. As we all have noticed, in the last many years, the social fabric of our society has been disintegrating because of technology. When I refer to the fact that our social interaction framework has been collapsing because of technology, I do not mean to say that it is something bad. I’m just trying to paint the picture the way the reality exists.

In the wake of advancement in the field of technology, human beings have started mediating their social relations via the technology. It means that the interaction between humans is filtered through various tools that are provided to us by advancing technology. It becomes important to see how this whole dynamics influences the way human beings interact with each other.

One of the various changes that I have been brought in by the use of technology is that the amount of responsibility that may arise as a result of human interaction has been reduced considerably. In other words, people want to have the warmth of having someone close to them only emotionally and without their physical presence, for the physical presence entails more concrete responsibility. It should also be taken into account that the concrete responsibility has an economic cost in the set up that we all are a part of. The use of technology allows us not to be your that economic cost of responsibility that one has to incur in physical presence of someone. The world should presence of anyone implies notional veil that doesn’t allow those two people to assume responsibility of each other, in conventional sense.

Another dimension of technology mediated human interaction is that emotions and feelings are being exchanged at a more intense level. The reason for this is the fact that instead of actions that are very difficult to be effectuated if some concern has to be shown towards a person, more words are being thrown at the person whom those feelings need to be expressed to. It is often said that is easier to say them to do something. Finally, the use of technology in human relations seems to be proving the same.

Another important and extremely relevant Point that has been coming forward as a consequence of increasing use of technology in human relations is the ‘instant gratification’. Earlier, when two people were at a distance from each other, they used to write letters. The satisfaction that one could get out of reading the another’s letter entailed some time gap and the gratification was slow and gradual. But now when we have technology at our disposal, the response doesn’t take time to be afforded or to be received by people. Hence, the fact that everybody wants instant gratification is taking toll on the conventional mechanism of making things work out in human relationships. It seems that the moment there is time lag in gratification, people move onto the next human being which movement has been made much more easy by the use of technology.

The people who are complaining about staying at home during the pandemic are not worse off in the sense that they are away from human interaction. In fact, they are not okay with the confinement that has been imposed on to them as the same signifies a curtailment of their liberty. People do not understand that they cannot even articulate their situation without conforming to the mainstream thought process. Excessive use of devices like telephone and laptops; and, further more, the use of various applications that increase the turnover of their human interaction satisfying the desire of instant gratification has made people very conditioned to the lack of real human connection or human interaction.

in view of the aforementioned, it should not be misunderstood that people, during COVID-19, or missing the human interaction in real sense. In fact, they are getting more close to their technology devices and are engrossed in their usage Way more than before. If the reality was a science-fiction movie, we could totally imagine a scenario in which everybody is at home because there is a threat of virus outside and are busy leading their lives using their virtual proxies.

Paramjeet Singh Berwal

Paramjeet, a lawyer, an invited lecturer, and AI research and policy consultant, is the Director of the Institute for Artificial Intelligence and Technology Law at Sulkhan-Saba Orbeliani University, Georgia. He is a Global Panelist with MIT Technology Review. He is frequently invited to deliver talks and presentations on various topics pertaining to AI. His research includes how AI will influence human existence, especially in the context of economy, work, law, society and its institutions, business management, social behaviour and policy making. He may be contacted at

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