The Evolution of our Digital Senses

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Digital Marketing > The evolution of our digital sensesCaveat Emptor: Superficially, this post has nothing to with Inbound Marketing Automation per se, and everything to do with how humans will continue to use digital means of communication – now and ever more so in the future.

Isaac Azimov’s novel, The Naked Sun, introduced us to a planet called Solaria, where people no longer interact with each other in person. Instead, holographic avatars of themselves interact with the avatars of other people in public. They were there, virtually, but without smell, taste or touch.

You’re probably wondering about sex in a society like this. In Azimov’s world, it was mostly a solitary affair with test-tube babies born in the planetary birthing center and reared by machines.

And about now you’re probably also wondering just where this post is headed.

Seems to me we’re on the road to Solaria and there’s no looking back. We do business today with people we never meet in person: never evaluate their handshake, never see their tense or relaxed body, never hear the sincerity or falseness in their voice, or smell the excitement or fear on their skin. Our senses have evolved over millions of years to enable us to make rapid and usually accurate assessments of people and situations. And now social media’s digital connections between people have rendered useless at least 3 and often 4 of our senses. How are we going to adapt quickly enough to deal with the change which is already upon us?

Many of us today communicate via the written word. We’ve reduced our means of getting to know people to the words they type. And lets face it; some of us are better at using words than others. Minus the other senses, it’s difficult to build trust and without trust there is no real relationship.

So just how can we evaluate a person’s digital trust factor?

One way we do so today is to use Google’s judgment. We implicitly trust sites which rank higher on Google’s result lists, or perhaps it’s simply that we mistrust the sites which don’t make it to page one. But either way, we click a link, striving to form a relationship to someone trusted, who can and will answer our questions.

Safety in numbers, this need for relationships, is built into our genes – our effort to increase the number of our connections on LinkedIn and followers on Twitter is proof of that. Although we understand that these links to others are not tangible in the beginning, we intrinsically believe that actions speak louder than words. Over time – when the person on the other end of the digital link has proved reliable, a relationship can be established. This is the essence of ebay’s and Amazon’s trust ratings.

What do you see ahead? There are two possible alternatives – additional technology to enhance our interactions, and adaptive changes to our own ways of perceiving people.

I’m guessing it will be a combination of the two, because new advancements in sensory transmission and reception will dictate changes in the ways in which we interact with each other.

Sounds like a product to me: sniffers to sample a person’s pheromones or smell, convert them to digital bits, and then at the other end, spray them out at the recipient’s nose. And the person who perfects this and touch telemetry is going to make a lot of money, even if its sole purpose is to usher in a brave new world of safe sex.

What do you think?

12 Comments
  1. Axel 4 years ago
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