What with Facetime, Skype, Whatsapp and Snapchat, for many people, face-to-face conversation is used less and less often.
These apps allow us to converse with each other quickly and easily – overcoming distances, time zones and countries. We can even talk to virtual assistants such as Alexa, Cortana or Siri – commanding them to play our favourite songs, films, or tell us the weather forecast.
Often these ways of communicating reduce the need to speak to another human being. This has led to some of the conversational snippets of our daily lives now taking place mainly via technological devices. So no longer do we need to talk with shop assistants, receptionists, bus drivers or even coworkers, we simply engage with a screen to communicate whatever it is we want to say.
In fact, in these scenarios, we tend to only speak to other people when the digital technology does not operate successfully. For instance, human contact occurs when we call for an assistant to help us when an item is not recognised at the self-service checkout.
Ultimately the sound, touch, smell and observation of bodily cues we experience when having a face-to-face conversation cannot be fully replaced by our technological devices. Communicating and connecting with others through face-to-face discussion is valuable because it is not something that can be edited, paused or replayed.
So next time you’re deciding between human or machine at the supermarket checkout or whether to get up from your desk and walk to another office to talk to a colleague – rather than sending them an email – it might be worth following Turk’s advice and engaging with the human rather than the screen.