Future touchscreens can touch you too, no kidding

2022-05-23 18:09:06 513

You comfort a grieving friend online via chat, but you can't put your arms around their shoulders. You buy shoes at Zappos and compare all your favorite brands, but you can't make eye contact with the cashier or respond to their jokes. You get advice from a physical therapist online, but have no way of knowing if your story touched him. You're flirting online and you can't steal a kiss.

The benefits of the Internet can be listed many more. But online, we put convenience first at the cost of face-to-face human interaction and the personal touch that comes with it.

We are increasingly missing the experience of human contact, the most important manifestation of social stickiness. Even the tiniest social contact matters. Social engagement connects people to their communities, workplaces, and fosters feelings of gratitude, empathy, and trust. People treated mildly by restaurant servers tend to tip more. Doctors who interact with patients are believed to be more considerate, patients will be more relaxed, and medical outcomes will be better. Even a simple touch of the arm with a customer can make a store sell more.