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What is in a greeting or a hello? Some might say, everything. Human interaction is something that affects every part of us. It gives us insight into a person within seconds, and it allows us to feel connected, important, even understood.

There is a saying in emotional intelligence or NLP methods that states, “Perception is Projection.” I always thought this was an interesting topic, as it gives a different take on the “you are what you eat” quote; maybe we see what we are. But what happens when what we see is not what is real? …and is that a bad thing?

What is in a greeting? Some might say, everything

We have all heard the argument that social media has made us less social, and there is probably a little truth to that. To help deliver my thoughts, let’s breakdown the words Social Media. Social: relating to society or its organization; and, Media: communication outlets or tools used to store and deliver information or data. Makes perfect sense until you decide to throw in real world scenarios and interactions. Society is people living together in a community, typically with same culture and beliefs; this makes sense in groups but at scale the definition somewhat comes apart or is more broad. Our sameness relies on us all being different, that does not work in the reverse.

Let’s take a different look. Some people are empowered or more bold on social media than they ever would be in person. Is this is a good or bad thing? Well to the introvert this may be super helpful, but to others this could bring out traits that are received very negatively.

Facebook launched in 2004 and even though we are flooded with social media applications the value proposition has not really changed all that much in the last 16 years. Companies who may have had good intentions to bring people together, are just selling profiles to the highest bidder. The human need to be noticed and to have purpose somehow became a commodity to transition individual value to company P&L. But what if technology could bridge the gap it created by evolving into a natural form of human nature’s ability to feel connected.

AR, VR, Hello, Future

Enter XR (cross reality). What if, through integrated neuro-technology and brain–machine interfaces (BMIs), we were able, to not only see a virtual or mixed reality, but we could alter the reality enough to state projection is perception. This is a really great concept, but where is the value. Maybe you are working with Asian or Middle Eastern cultures and you are an American where eye contact is expected and a sign of respect, where smiles and handshakes are just part of every day life and business. A Microsoft Teams or FaceTime call might not be the best form of communication. Traveling when COVID-19 is present is risky. What if you could put on or implant a device that would allow you to act normal (eye-contact and all), and to the person on the other end, you were diverting your eyes, or reducing your excitement to a much more respectful level from their point of view. Would this be respectful or untrustworthy? What would be the harm in altering our reality if it benefits equally and breaks down communication barriers? Is the impact positive or negative? Does the ability to unnaturally respect another persons culture make them more respectful and does wanting to naturally respond and alter that perception make that same person disrespectful?

“Communication is about connections and not just the ones you can see.”

Technology has a way of bringing out the best and worst in human nature and I believe that it is up to us to create value in technology that moves the human race closer to a better version of ourselves. I am not sure if we have done that just yet, but maybe we will get there eventually. Communication is about connections and not just the ones you can see. Technology has advanced communications more than any other field or industry, can we find a way to do it again?