Travelling and learning about face recognition and dinner parties

I get a flutter in my tummy when I touch down … but before so doing the article I read says we touch our phones 5,400 times a day … surprising?

“Your wings already exist. All you have to do is Fly!”

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I always get that little flutter in my tummy when I touch down at Heathrow. Home. But as we come in to land, I never stop marvelling at this thing called an aeroplane. How those Wright Brothers were poo-pooed for their off-the-wall idea of flying. The busyness of the runways, the planes lined up, the crew smiling and waiting in readiness to take on their passengers, or to deposit us safely. All thanks to Orville and Wilbur Wright. How small they have made the world.

 

imageTravelling is fabulous – besides the waiting at airports – although air terminals are like mini cities, so much to do, if that’s what you like. For me, I like to people watch and the fact that we can charge our devices, is enough to hang about for a while.

The actual flight provides me with time to read. This evening it was the BA Business Life magazine. Some very interesting articles, which is the reason for my writing now.

We’re on the plane – Stockholm to London – having spent a lovely, few days in the delightful company of our daughter. I’m reading “Trends” in the Business Life magazine. Technology has always fascinated me so this part of the magazine caught my attention.

Could the old-fashioned human way of talking …

The article is titled ‘Could the old-fashioned human way of talking be having a resurgence?’ We’re getting back to being old-fashioned apparently – humans talking to humans, I read. Talking to each other is fundamentally what makes us human. Apparently, over recent years we have preferred to refrain from ‘real-life verbal interactions’. We have seen this way of talking as being ‘risky, intrusive and generally best avoided in favour of written messaging – emails and digital messaging.’ We know how much we love WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Slack, Skype, Trello and many more. Is conversation a lost art then, asks Henrietta Thompson?

The dinner party

Henrietta Thompson, an editorial consultant and curator and editor at large at Wallpaper magazine, writes about us all chatting together again on a face-to-face basis. The trend, she says, is that those dinner parties that we once enjoyed are making a come-back. We’re turning back to being social by grouping together and telling stories. She says:

“Proper dinner parties, long replaced by the ghastly ‘kitchen supps’ upstart, are once again punctuating our lives in “full frontal, full throttle, totally pumped, pimped up and banging Eighties form”.

I wonder if this trend can really out-do our virtual interactions? Social media is such a big part of our lives. Across the generations, we’ve come together virtually. Dating sites and places like Facebook and WhatsApp provide the opportunities for more and more people to meet, to chat, get to know one another, become more and more friendly. Is it really necessary to be physically close to tell the stories we want to tell. To share the news and views we want to discuss with those near and dear to us? Do we need to be in the same physical space, or even the same timeline, to get close to someone. To have a dinner party?

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Photo by @simpleco on Unsplash.com

We Touch Our Phones 5,400 times

On the same page as Henrietta’s article is one written by David Mattin. He is the head of trends and insights at trendwatching.com. David says we are living in a world of interfaces. So may of us are so addicted to them. Do you know that recent research shows that some of us smartphone users touch our phones as much as 5,400 times a day? A big number. I use my smartphone lots – from business emails, to writing blogs and sending messages, to holding long conversations on messaging apps, and short chats too, as well as searching on Google, finding and following directions, and much, much, more. Now, that number – 5,400 – begins to sound feasible, doesn’t it? I know many of my friends, relatives and work colleagues touch their smartphones many, many times a day too. Do you?

Your interface

Mattin mentions a very important interface. One we use even more often than our smartphones. He tells us that an interface is defined as “a point in a system where information flows in and out”. The most important interface he talks about is … wait for it … our face! “Your face pretty much meets that definition, right?”

Mmmm, I thought to myself. Of course. If you’re not convinced think about the fast developing face recognition technology all around us, says Mattin. Yes, I know that text messaging is being overtaken by voice, but even more so by video. Never mind businesses, such as airports and banks, using face recognition for security purposes, our trusty smartphones use face recognition – the iPhone X uses face recognition to unlock the device. We use face recognition on Facebook, FaceTime, and so many of our other social sites.

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Face recognition? This photo is by @heyerlein on Unsplash.com

That brings me back to Henrietta and her dinner parties. She has a point, I think, about dinner parties. They can be intimate affairs or very elaborate affairs. They can be affairs to bring our family and friends together. Our work colleagues – clients, employees – discussing, arguing, debating, brainstorming, telling stories. And what about one of the biggest dinner parties soon to take place in the UK on 19thMay – Prince Harry and Megan Markel’s wedding! Face to face interaction is going to be big at this dinner party – this is what Thompson is talking about – but on a smaller scale too!

Having said that, I have had a “meal” with a friend whilst we were chatting on social media by video. It’s instant, we could see each other smiling and laughing sharing sadness, and surprise, and all the emotions as if we were sitting face-to-face. Could Henrietta’s dinner party be a success virtually?

If you are on your own and decided you wanted company, could you join a friend’s dinner party anyway? Last Christmas Day my daughter and her friend were in Buenos Aires, Argentina, whilst we had a family gathering around a merry dinner table eating our Christmas fare. My daughter and her friend joined us via Skype and we chatted, exchanged messages with everyone around the table, laughed, showed them what we were eating and drinking! I’d sent her a Christmas parcel which had a pair of Christmas socks for each of them. They pointed their smartphone to their ankles to show us that they were wearing their presents! Unfortunately for them, they couldn’t partake of our Christmas meal. They just had to look. It was a bit sad. They didn’t realise that the restaurants and shops were closed on Christmas Day in Buenos Aires. They had found a little café and ordered 2 cups of tea so that they could use the free internet to join our dinner table, even though they couldn’t share our delicious food. A virtual dinner, maybe, but it does lack sharing and tasting the same foods, drinks, and most importantly, the atmosphere.

Jumped miles and time zones

Social media has jumped miles, time zones, and countries to bring people together. Mattin talks about a marketing experiment by travel company, Tui. The experiment sat individuals in a booth and showed them videos of travel destinations. Their emotional response was judged via facial recognition. The end result was that the individuals were given travel recommendations based on their facial responses. Our facial responses “tell us about our true and deep preferences”. So, it’s not surprising that we are using our social media’s video apps more and more. Seeing someone face-to-face with all their emotional responses makes that interaction that much more special. It’s like meeting someone who we are always talking to on the phone, and saying: “Isn’t it great to put a face to a name”.

I like Mattin’s quip:

“Ready for a world in which your face is your digital passport, your payment method, and the interface that lets a host of brands discern what you really want? Some will love it. Others will want to invest in a mask”.

Space for a dinner party and face-to-face recognition interfaces

I believe there is space for both forms of communication. Face-to-face using our digital media, but of course, the physical will never go out of fashion. The warm, close association when people are in a physical space, the dinner party, the atmosphere. The sensation of a hug, a kiss, which cements any relationship. With our ever evolving world of technology bringing us closer together, the human touch is not lost, it just gets better when we meet.

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My song for this blog is a compilation of songs about travel … I haven’t listened to them all … but shall soon when I’m travelling again …


Travelling to places near or far. This blog will trace our journeys, our travels. Will report the good and the not so good. Sharing photos and experiences that may be useful to you at some time in the future. Just saying … the posts may be written after the event! I would love you to accompany me from time to time on my travels to places near and far.

Thank you for following www.cecilyswritings.wordpress.com and http://www.cecilystravels.wordpress.com and look forward to hearing from you. Let me know if you have a travel blog I can follow too. This blog can be translated into any language.

Written by Cecily on 2nd May 2018.
Copyright (C) Cecily Lalloo 2018

Author: Cecilyswritings

Woman, mum, nana, wife, sister, aunt, friend, mentor, business woman, HR specialist. Love keeping in touch with people around the world using social media - so far and yet so near. Fingers in a few pies and now sharing my words. My Motto: Go for it! Believe you can and you can.

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