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The New Social Reality


Today, people have two lives, their online lives and their offline lives. Online life represents the good side; it is always thriving and beautiful. Offline life has ups and downs. As technology becomes more human, these two lives become one, creating a new social reality. We cannot longer split our feelings, thoughts, and actions between these two worlds. This time, the digital is for real.
We are social animals. We need to be part of our social environment. We are good at monitoring public opinion so that we can fit in. We try to present an enlarged version of ourselves online through selfies or cool pictures. We keep silent whenever we disagree with prevailing views. We send happy emojis even though we don't feel happy.
However, this virtual reality has a dark side: social pressure. Exposure to other people's lives can leave us feeling less successful and even frustrated over our own lives. There is pressure to portray an inflated version of ourselves so we can try to fit in.
Technology has the power to bring us together and pull us apart. The more human the technology, the more real we become.
Below are just a few examples of human technology from this year's winter show at the Interactive Telecommunications Program (ITP) at NYU. You can follow this link to see the full list of student projects, which are fascinating and mind blowing.
Real emotions when texting, no emojis - Real Me is a live chatting app, with BLE-connected sensors, that uses graphics and messages to reveal a user's real emotion while chatting. It tracks a user's emotions, using system messages to describe the user's true emotions.
Real love in Tinder - the True Love Tinder Robot will find you love, guaranteed. With Tinder open, you move your phone down the front of the robot's hand. Then, you place your own human hands on the sensors. As you are looking at each Tinder profile, the robot will read your heart's true desire through the sensors and decide whether or not you are a good match for that person, based on how your body reacts. If it determines that you're attracted to that person, it will swipe right. If not, it will swipe left. Throughout the process, it will comment on your involuntary choices.
Real pictures on social media - ThisIsReal aims to take users through the process of retouching, by layers, several images of ordinary people; users will be able to wipe away the layers on a touch screen and watch the layers vanish, quantifying how much work goes into creating a non-realistic person.

In summary, we are moving to a new type of Internet experience, one that not only knows what you do but also knows how you feel and think - a true, human experience, powered by wearable devices, which involves real feelings, thoughts, and actions. This time, digital is for real.

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