Will Technology of the Future destroy our relationships?

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A TED talk by Siri co-creator Tom Gruber on the affects of artificial intelligence on our work, memory, and social relationships shows promising impact on edging closer and closer to flawless design, making the world around us safer and more efficient. Gruber cites AI’s potential in contributing to a 99.5 percent accuracy rate in diagnosing cancer, an incredible medical feat. But when considering human memory, what will access to accurate recordings of our interactions mean for our social relationships?

The human condition is that our memories fade and are flawed. Augmented Reality tools have the potential to help us remember events exactly as they happened, giving us the ability to pore over them and access them at will. And that’s also a problem. Our memories are flawed for a reason. We all know the phrase, “to forgive and forget”. We reframe our experiences all the time. It’s an important part in mending our relationships when someone has done us wrong. Have a heated argument with a good friend or family member? Maybe their tone wasn’t as harsh as first detected, and could I have over-reacted?

Microsoft’s Gordon Bell is probably the earliest researcher helping us look at evolving issues around perfect memory in his project MylifeBits. The project was meant to be an exploration into paperless archiving and access to one’s own personal information, but raises several issues related to memory loss including how future technology can assist those suffering neural impairment or Alzheimer’s.

The TV series Black Mirror explores the impact of an unwavering Augmented Reality assisted memory in the episode, The Entire History of You, showcasing dire consequences for one couple. The show is known for taking a look at the darker side of a technologically infused society. Still, it raises some valuable questions we need to ponder.

How will our very own personal big brother change the way we interact with one another? Our ability to be honesty with one another? How we speak to one another? Our ability to get close and form intimate and meaningful relationships with others?

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