The Future of Human Interaction

Tom Wright, architect of the Burj Al Arab, co-founder of WKK Architects, believes the concept of social space will evolve.

My 13-year-old daughter was asked at school to compose a rant on a subject that offended her. She chose to talk about her friends coming to visit her and then spending their time on social media rather than doing real things.

A number of other pupils ranted that they hate going to other people’s houses and finding that there was a poor internet connection.

I suggest that here lies a dangerous trend for the future of the social space. As soon as bandwidth is no longer a problem and computer processing power jumps to the next level, in say 20 years tops, you will be able to inhabit unbelievable social environments where you will have amazing, spiritually fulfilling, social interactions, all from the comfort of your sofa. In full 3D with all your friends, most of whom you will never have met in real life.

Nothing, short of some kind of fundamental meltdown, is going to prevent this. Life will be just as amazing, and much easier to get to, in virtual reality.

Social spaces that can be designed without the constraints of gravity, just imagine. Then, in 50 years, someone will add touch and smell into the virtual mix and that will present social possibilities that boggle the mind, making everyday life online appear so much more vital than life on Earth.

I liked my daughter’s rant as it was almost revolutionary in her friends’ world, but then again I’m a bit of a dinosaur when it comes to social media; I like the idea of going down the pub to meet my mates on a Friday night, in real life. Although I also like the idea of not having to commute to work, and designing in zero gravity come to that.

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