“Online Shopping Apps on iPad” (CC BY 2.0) by mfvcimages
It’s not so long ago that it would have seemed impossible for us to do most of the things we enjoy now from the comfort of our own homes. But then along came the internet and opened up a whole new range of possibilities for us. And, as time goes on, more and more opportunities are starting to spring up to do everything from taking an exercise class to completing a college degree without leaving the house.
Then there’s the question of shopping. Where, before, we might have had to search high and low to find that perfect outfit or pair of shoes, now we can just visit a site like H&M.com online and browse to our hearts’ content. Then, when we’ve decided what to buy, there’s no queuing at the till to pay and, a few days later, our new purchases will arrive.
Similarly, now when we want to enjoy a visit to a casino all we need to do is fire up a PC or a mobile device and head for a site such as leovegas.com. Not only will we find games like slots and blackjack to play, there’s also a relatively new phenomenon called the “live” casino. This features real life dealers playing in actual time and streaming the action to the player. As you can even chat to them while you play, it makes for a far more personal experience all round.
“Video conferencing” (CC BY 2.0) by gcbb
Of course, it’s not just the world of leisure that’s going online too. It’s also changed the way that many of us do business with more remote working and many face to face meetings being replaced by “virtual” ones via platforms like zoom.us.
But for all the convenience of doing these kinds of things online, are we in danger of losing an important part of what makes life interesting, involving and unpredictable?
Ever since the earliest days of civilisation, human beings have been sociable. We’ve lived in communities, co-operated and existed together. Above all, we’ve been in contact with each other, and it’s through this that the strong bonds between us develop. So, perhaps some of this is inevitably being lost as more and more of our daily interactions are taking place via a screen.
That’s not to say that there may not be many other benefits to this over and above the convenience. For example, by staying home instead of traveling by car or plane it’s undoubtedly a good thing for the environment. And with cities potentially becoming less crowded as fewer people venture out, it also can make them more pleasant and relaxing places to be.
So, as you can see, it’s a delicate balance that needs to be struck. Yes, we want all the convenience of being able to call up virtually anything we want at the touch of a button. But that will inevitably come at a cost to our sociability. Whether that really is a price worth paying is definitely up for debate.