Staff Editorial 4/19: Technology replaces relationships

On Sunday, Tupac Shakur rose from the dead and joined Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre on stage at Coachella, a well-known music festival held in Indio, Calif.

“What the f**k is up Coachella,” a shirtless Shakur shouted, as he appeared on stage in the form of a hologram. The audience was speechless because, despite conspiracy theories, Shakur has been dead for 15 years.

Using a hologram to resurrect the dead is a form of technology that poses concern. It started with Shakur, but at this rate there will be concert tours resurrecting Aaliyah, Biggie Smalls, Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston.

Although this form of technology gives individuals the ability to reconnect with the past, present relationships and connections should be our primary focus. Thanks to technological advancements, society is relying more and more on social media, video chats,  and text messages to connect and communicate. But technology  doesn’t allow people to fully express their emotions.

Face-to-face interaction has diminished. Friends have become acquaintances and acquaintances have become strangers. We have lost the intimate bond created by in-person contact.

There is a serious problem when individuals are able to hold an intellectual conversation or argument via mobile texting or social media outlets, but awkwardly scuffle past each other when crossing paths in person. About a decade ago, such actions were cowardly.

This is also true for the professional sphere. It is now normal for an employer to interview a potential job or internship candidate via Skype or telephone when this does not do an individual justice. Body language and personalities cannot be identified through a projector or screen, but this generation has been a strong advocate for cultivating formal relationships digitally.

There is no doubt that technological advancements have positively impacted society, but social media and technology should be an alternative form of human interaction, not a replacement.  Humanity used to be defined by its ability to communicate. Now, however, virtual forms of communication are creating disconnect. Technology may be increasing the ability of humanity to be the superior species, but it is degrading our ability to be human.

Find ways to keep face-to-face interaction relevant. Express your feelings verbally rather than through a text message, video chat, or social media status update. Technology will continue to advance and people will continue to communicate through these media, but relationships will always be healthiest when maintained through physical interactions. We’re human beings, not robots.

Editorials represent the majority view of The Miami Hurricane editorial board.