The technological innovations have an enduring significance in human history. The digital revolution was a turning point in the evolution of mankind, redefining the basic fabric of the civilizations– Social Interactions. It was about two decades ago when personal computing coupled with internet enabled every individual to multitask, learn new things, explore new territories and collaborate with others in a virtual world at a scale never seen before. The social networking services viz. Facebook, Instagram, Whatsapp, Flickr and Twitter have built a virtual space for the individuals to share their ideas, pictures, activities, events and interests with the rest of the world. The services such as Cloud Computing, Software-as-a-Service, Platform-as-a-service, and Global Grids have enabled individuals, corporations and governments to collaborate for a greater good. Though these innovations have added a new dimension to the social interactions, they can’t substitute for the face-to-face social interactions. In future, the progresses in science and technology will be more focused to bridge this gap and take the virtual experience a step closer to the face-to-face social interactions.
In a decade, the technologies such as Google glass and virtual reality are going to change the face of social interactions. They will allow people to share their visual experience as video feeds in real time. The search engines capable of multimedia data mining will enable video collaborations that shall further boost the exchange of ideas. In addition to visual and sound, the virtual reality will enable people to share their sensory experiences such as taste, smell and touch. This holistic virtual interaction will be closer to the present day face-to-face interaction and will radically change the manner in which the social interactions are conducted today. It will have profound effect primarily on commerce, healthcare and governance. In ten years, the individuals could test ride virtually an automobile before buying; virtually experience the aesthetics of a house before moving in; or, consult online medical practitioners for any medical ills they suffer. The governments too can utilize the individual records on the virtual servers to thwart any unscrupulous activities. Though these changes are illustrative of a future that will have rich social interactions on a virtual platform, the face-to-face social interactions will also gain because of the emerging technologies. Already social network services such as meetup and MEETin are facilitating their members, having common interests, to plug off the network and have more face-to-face social interactions.
Social interactions are not just governed by individual free will. There are many factors, such as cultural, economic and political, that govern the social interactions between the individuals separated by geographical boundaries. In the next decade, the technological innovations primarily in the fields of energy and space research are going to change the political and social face of the globe in favour of strong human relations and better social interactions. Till now, the reliance on limited fossil fuels had kept the global political landscape polarized. But, the advances in exploration of alternate fuels viz. shale gas and cleaner sources of fuel such as ocean, solar and wind farms will end the dominance of a few nations over the world energy needs. The changed dynamics will foster better ties between nations and open more avenues for collaborations. Moreover, the space research programs of tomorrow will bring the nations closer. Just as global collaboration in past has enabled the creation of International Space Station, so it will be instrumental in making space tourism a reality. As the world’s nations gets knitted together through these innovations, a global community shall emerge that shall thrive more and more on social interactions and strong human relations.