I like things. I like the Internet. I also like human beings, and coincidentally enough I happen to be a fan of the Internet.
But. No matter how many interaction designers reverently gush about the unlimited potential that will be unlocked, like manna, once all of our things are finally able to “communicate” intelligently with us, I still feel that a point needs to be made. Connecting our objects with the Internet and allowing them to relay information and respond to us does not necessarily mean that we are more connected with one another.
Now, there may not be a problem with that. But let’s at least make sure that we’re not conflating the two things. Let’s reinsert agency into the question, because I maintain that true human connection comes in different spices and flavors. We get to define what it is, and we get to define when it is meaningful and when it is simply superficial. Just because the introduction of certain technologies have been used, by some humans, as tools to better connect with others doesn’t mean that the further advancement of those technologies will yield the same results.* And the sooner we are able to acknowledge the truth, the sooner we can get down to the business of actually fostering those connections that we so deeply desire.
* Which is not to say that it could not, only that it does not inherently.