It may well be that humanity has already reached the maximum speed of communication. If earlier messengers, carrier pigeons, telegraph, radio, and telephone were used for communication, now we have the Internet, which allows us to transmit not only text but also a picture with sound. Talking to a person on the other side of the Earth is a matter of a few seconds. Saying “hello” to almost any beauty in the world is a matter of a few keystrokes. Now there are no time and geographical boundaries. Has the golden age of communication finally arrived?
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Images, audio, text
Each type of information has its scope of application. Pictures are good for those things that are better “to see once than to hear a hundred times” (video also refers to pictures). Audio allows you to more succinctly convey the melody, tone, mood of the interlocutor but excludes the visual component. The text is a kind of transitional version, where both audio (when we read, we pronounce) and video (when we read, we see images) are intertwined. That is, it is a universal, and now also a cheap way of transmitting the information.
With the help of text, you can describe a picture, a situation, a mood, but with a melody, it will be more difficult, for this you need a modification of the text notes. But even in this case, it is easier to use the words “rhythmic rock’ n ‘roll” or “C major, 4/4” than a musical notation.
At the same time, the text is an extremely abstract thing. Even at the sight of the word “apple”, each of us imagines something different — someone has green, someone has red with a leaf, someone on a black background, someone on the table. But due to the abstraction, text, along with speech, is the cheapest way to communicate.
Audio and images are more specific, but also more expensive ways of transmitting the information. Yes, you can send a photo in a couple of seconds, but it can take a lot of time to pick it up or draw it yourself. The same applies to audio — you can find a track that is pleasant to the ear, but it is unlikely that it will convey your emotions. For greater accuracy, you will have to write your composition, which not everyone can do. But more often it happens that an inaccurate transfer is enough, at the same time it turns out to save money. In such cases, you do not need to learn to draw pictures and play the guitar yourself, it is enough to reset the link to the already prepared composition and picture.
The evolution of communication
The writing was invented thousands of years ago, but we have not improved it in any cardinal way since then. They just figured out how to speed up recording with the help of printing and the keyboard, and transfer with the help of mail and the Internet. And it is unlikely that this ancient way of communication will go away until we learn how to transmit images directly from the brain or implant chips to “accelerate” the quality of organs and their interaction efficiency.
Huge speed, distance, and the low cost of modern communication have made it possible to make enterprises more efficient and life more flexible. Today everything is arranged at the last minute. We finally have the opportunity to become more impulsive and less inertial.
How did this affect the quality of our communication?
On average, we spend about a third of our online time on social media. Moreover, not only sitting at the computer — there are about 1.6 billion mobile users of social media around the world.
Since there are no more hours in the day, and the person is still biologically limited — this means that the increased time in social media has flowed away from somewhere. Either we began to sleep less, or work less, or communicate less real. Or have we become much more efficient than 10-15 years ago?
There can be many reasons for this behavior — starting from laziness or a desire to be alone, and ending with the convenience of controlling the incoming “traffic” of communication. After all, it is much easier and faster to “turn off” a person online than at a personal meeting (although it depends on the set strike). But this is all secondary. Nothing would have worked if it hadn’t been for the cheaper data transfer.
Sending a paper letter is more expensive both in terms of money and time
Having encroached on cheapness, we began to communicate less lively. And we pay for this not only with falling labor productivity (since smartphones and social networks, along with meetings and colleagues distract from work) but also with the quality of live communication.
Even the physical presence at a meeting or party does not mean the presence of an intellectual one, because among the guests there will necessarily be crowds of people with smartphones who will sit or stand with their heads bent down, check likes and posts.
In such cases, it is better to explicitly indicate who you are inviting to the party — a body with a phone, or a body carrying a brain that can take part in conversations. There is also a more radical option — to collect all the phones in a bag at the entrance to the room and not give them away until the person leaves. But then no one would go to parties, because for many people the phone is like a drug. In the West, there are even camps where patients are relieved of”telephone dependence”.
Because you can become addicted to the phone as strongly as to shopping or the Internet (you can get a behavioral type of addiction).
It is difficult to say unequivocally what online communication brings more good or harm.
On the one hand, getting to know someone online is very easy. On the other hand, the effectiveness of such dating remains questionable. Although technologies have accelerated and reduced the cost of data transmission, they have not been able to overcome human biology. Too much important information for choosing a partner is lost in pictures, audio, and text. For example, the smell has not yet started to be transmitted over the network. This means that the vomeronasal organ, which is located in the nose and is responsible for sexual behavior, is inactive. Social media are trying to take over its functions, whose advanced algorithms for finding and choosing a partner by parameters such as age, interests, and profession should inspire hope that the technology will be able to overcome the animal. But the algorithms do not cope. Live communication wins.
On the other hand, we now talk to friends and relatives living in other countries; in seconds we solve issues that previously took days or weeks. The phone in your pocket allows you to get help in any situation, whether it’s a broken tire or emergency psychological help. On the other hand, we now do not know how to cope with our problems alone — with a sudden sadness or an inadvertently.