The Wheeler Centre
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Anita Sethi on the Human Experience in the Digital Age: Conversation, Relationships and Social Connection
‘Only connect,’ said E M Forster. Could Mr Forster have envisaged a world in which one person connected with another, thousands of miles away, through free video and voice calls, instant messages and file sharing, via a computer and broadband internet connection? Humans are now so freely connected through computers as to cause consternation to governments of all kinds – and for myriad reasons.
Skype is on a mission to ‘enable the world’s conversations,’ says its President, Josh Silverman. ‘Allowing the world to communicate for free empowers and links people and communities everywhere,’ he believes. The etymology of the word ‘conversation’ is ‘act of living with’, or ‘to live with, keep company with’.
But does virtual communication improve or impair that capacity for good human connection? How are conversations and thus relationships and identities changing in the digital age? Visiting from the UK for the 2012 Emerging Writers’ Festival, Anita Sethi ponders these questions and more.
Anita Sethi is an award-winning British writer, journalist and broadcaster who has written for national and international newspapers and magazines.