Empowered but contentious social connections
In the future, we may see a progression in AI whereby it becomes capable of codifying relationship dynamics and learning methodologies that can bring different personality types together in different ways and intimately learn the characteristics of individuals. With these new capacities, services could be put to use forging new and varied types of relationships and assisting people through their myriad complexities.
The power that these services develop could make us passive players in an orchestrated culture curated by the service. Relationship facilitators could also empower their users with greater self-awareness and understanding, increasing our capacity to grow as individuals among more harmonious relationships and communities.
What might be down the path
In these scenarios, there are three important considerations that may indirectly emerge:
- Firstly, should these services become commonplace, there may be implications for the culture of our relationships.
- Even the context of the initiation of relationships has a large bearing on the nature of the culture that is formed between people. With enough frequency of algorithmically initiated introductions, it could be possible to see a proliferation of different types of relationships.
- In a similar way, but to a lesser degree, one could argue that the current ubiquity of dating app introductions between people has led to more ambiguity about the emotional commitment that can be assumed in early relationships. This shift may consequently lead to a negative change in trust dynamics or a positive change in the independence of individual identities in relationships.
- These changes are potentially minor and normal in the course of history, however when we see the integration of services into the management of relationships in an ongoing manner, their culture and dynamics are surely, for better or worse – malleable. This alludes to a deeper issue with all of these services that interject, coordinate and manage our relationships —If the level of service interference in our lives continues to escalate and the data and intelligence upon which they operate continues to swell, at what point do these services disrupt what is authentically us? And how important/valuable is that?
- Secondly, there is a possibility that an interesting dependence may befall us, if we become reliant on these services to guide our interpersonal relationships.
- It is perhaps important for services to make the data, insight and knowledge available and understandable to each user so that their own capacity for relationship skills is heightened and the technology does not make us less resilient.
- Another interesting parallel can be drawn between this scenario and the present day situation where most young couples meet through digital match-making services. Could it be argued that culture has shifted and depleted the opportunities for ‘undesigned / unplanned’ introductions and could this have an impact on people’s capacity to approach strangers or make instinctive decisions about compatibility.
- Thirdly, with these concerns about unwanted influence and dependence aside, there are a plethora of incredible ways that these types of technologies can be used to integrate people into new communities and society in general, even just with the emergence of cultures that welcome algorithmically made introductions.
- Even the introduction of in-relationship interventions could be massively supportive for people who struggle with getting to know others, with maintaining friendships or people who frequently repeat mistakes in relationships.
- From a societal perspective, we could look to these tools as a way to innovate and alter the fabric of relationships between people, strengthening connections where it is valuable for people individually and as a community.
- However, as with all these services there are huge risks. While these services may be used to bolster communities to build resilience, tolerance and social capital, they may also strengthen divisive or exclusionary communities or, from a less malevolent perspective, by strengthening some interactions, others may be neglected.
Empath assesses and builds student’s social intelligence and empathy for other people through in-school, personalised, immersive storytelling.
Eros is a romantic relationship coach and assistant, wrapped into the convenience of an app.
Yolt is a community building app that orchestrates group meetings online and offline by matching people based on the potential quality of a conversation not simply based on being similarly minded.
Other Proposition types
The commoditisation of our needs and values to incentivise behaviour change. The advanced digitisation of our lives could result in the quantifying and subsequent unionisation of different aspects of behaviour and the values that drive them.