At Sphere, we understand the primary drivers behind social media’s ubiquity and seek to undo its pernicious influence.
Humanity wasn’t meant to interact behind screens. It wasn’t meant to convey emotion through images less than one square inch. Life is so much richer than that and too many of us have forgotten how to make the most of it.
The biggest danger behind social media, I believe, is the devaluation of human interactions. Unfortunately, there aren’t many ways to undo this perception that many people have inadvertently adopted other than to facilitate in-person interactions. One could point to history and say that this alone isn’t enough, and I would 40% agree, but there is something about interacting with a fellow human being in person–positive and negative emotions included–that would disarm the most secluded of cynical nihilists.
Philosophy aside, the above could be construed as rejecting technological advancement, but I can assure you that Sphere does anything but.
Many of the fears concerning AI revolve around this basic concept: that technology should be at our service, and not the other way around. This fear is far from unfounded and applies to more than just AI. At its core, social media is meant to facilitate our interactions with others, but its unforeseen consequences have bastardized what it means to be human.
I don’t believe we have all the answers, but I’m convinced we have enough of them to shape the technology landscape of the 21st century.
Where Sphere’s mission and vision intersect
We believe that technology has strengthened our connectivity but weakened our proximity to others. A friend is not a blip from a screen; a friend is someone you share experiences with and know personally. As a technology company, we seek to bring people back to their roots when it comes to interacting with their friends.
Part of Sphere’s solution is social event automation: we automatically schedule events between you and your friends based on mutual interests and available times. This serves two purposes: first, mitigating the negative effects of digital interactions, and second, simplifying people’s lives with AI.
On the aggregate, despite the usual concerns regarding technological advancement, I would argue that its net effect has been more good than harm. I won’t go into the Kantian-based ethics I uphold, but more good than harm doesn’t mean no room for improvement. Technology has the potential to go much further in meeting individual and societal needs.
A larger number of digital connections is not the answer to any of these needs. Neither is an online argument where common ground seems ever elusive. When you see a block of pixels advancing an idea that you disagree with, your first instinct might be to solipsistically believe that you know better, but you wouldn’t dare be this obnoxious in person.
This is just one example, but fundamentally, this type of social distance is what we aim to reduce. As much as technology has improved our lives, it has failed to accurately reflect the way that people naturally interact in person. And here’s my dig at VR: I’m not blue pill.
Technology is the bicycle of the mind and it should hold true to what it’s always meant to be: not stationary.