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  • Writer's pictureKlaus Luehning

#33 | DISCONNECTED BY CONNECTION: The Paradox of AI in the Age of Loneliness


  1. AI's Impact on Human Autonomy and Labor: Klaus raises concerns about how AI might sideline human efforts in managing our personal lives, offering relief from labor but potentially leading to a sense of uselessness, depression, and loneliness.

  2. Communication Shifts and Social Challenges: Klaus notes a transformation in interpersonal communication due to technology, with devices like smartphones and laptops replacing in-person interactions. This shift results in communication that is time-dependent, short, and lacking in emotional depth, posing challenges to social connection and personal relationships.

  3. Need for Adaptation in Education and Social Structures: Klaus suggests that current educational systems and social programming struggle to keep pace with rapid technological advancements. We need an updated approach to education and societal value to understand better and integrate technology's role in our lives and to maintain critical emotional and interactive skills.


Artificial Intelligence: It is scary what could be a sidelining of human efforts to manage one's life....a reprieve from labor but a growing wasteland of uselessness, with depression and loneliness already simmering worldwide. 


The development speed is outpacing the challenge of assimilating the new with the current hodge-podge of available gimmicks to communicate, self-entertain, get information, and media outlets, all competing for the linear time available for all to use. Social foresight needs to catch up to define relevance, importance, safety, and choice. The gimmicks, like iPhones, laptops, headphones, earbuds, desktop computers, tablets, et al., are all individual use, without any personal interaction, that is, 'in person.' This makes communication time-dependent, short, and abbreviated, without the background of intonation, body language, inflection, emotional tension, or corrective and collaborative choice of verbal language. This disengagement is a relatively current modification in interpersonal communication, preventing things like letter writing. 


The skills necessary to meld participation with novelty are beyond the current educational structure, and current syllabi are historical rather than heuristic in future casting. This is particularly true in secondary schooling, where rigor and higher basic skill standards still need improvement. We will be overwhelmed and emotional as our neediness becomes insuperable because our emotional inheritance to express neediness in safety, health, projects, and goals has not changed, and the demands of abbreviated callouts through social media require answers or brusque replies from frustration. This is a prelude to depression and loneliness when the full effect of person-to-person communication is too tricky or not grasped in repartee. 


When an onslaught of AI is at our disposal, either on demand or incorporated into activity, with or without notice of its use, the tension to conceive or perform is lost, as is the will to act on one's behalf. It has been said that the most helpful thing you can do is be beneficial to yourself; losing that satisfaction of self-management is degrading and depressing. 

A family member whose iPhone is ever-present will look up anything on their phone on a mere suggestion and read the answer to anyone listening--a name, a restaurant, menu, definition, travel time, on sale, etc., whether germane to the activity around them or not. It has become the lifeline to their life, and forwarding the information is sacrosanct. It begs the question: how does one develop a relationship with another person through a keyboard with trite requests/replies when the answers are emotionally arid—or misconstrued? Would you like a hug?


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