In the post-digital era, we are deep in a symbiotic relationship with technology for communication, commerce, information, engagement and social interaction. As artificial intelligence, deep learning and machine-based learning continue to develop, so will our dependence on all things digital. When is the last time you took out a paper map to figure out driving directions versus using Google Maps or GPS? Do you welcome the time saved when shopping online on Amazon versus in bricks and mortar retail stores? How many times a week do you use Google search? Would you use a self-driving car?
Virtual reality (VR) is a computer-generated three-dimensional environment made to engage our senses in a manner that makes it seem that the simulation is real. Today VR is delivered primarily through headsets. To experience this other world, you would have to don a headset. In a broader sense, many of us are currently living in a virtual world sans headsets as technology takes our time and share of mind away from the physical world.
The time that an average American is using a mobile device is increasing. Our attention is being diverted from the physical world. According to Flurry data, the average U.S. consumer spends five hours a day on a mobile device in Q4 2016, a 20 percent increase from 12 months prior .
In-person interaction is decreasing as electronic engagement is increasing. Americans over the age of 15 watch an average of 2.7 hours per day of television and only 39 minutes per day socializing and communicating with friends in person according to the United States Department of Labor .
Text is the preferred method of communicating instead of talking. Text messaging is the most widely-used basic feature or app on a smartphone followed by internet use, then voice or video calls according to Pew Research Center .
People are spending more time on electronic media than sleeping. Per Gallup, Americans average 6.8 hours of sleep nightly in 2013, down nearly a full hour from the average 7.9 hours of sleep in 1942 . eMarketer estimates US adults will spend over 12 hours and 7 minutes daily using media across all channels and devices in 2017, an increase of 13 minutes from 2013 .
Overall, we are spending more time on electronic media than sleeping, watching more TV than socializing with friends in person, and texting more than talking. The amount of time using technology is increasing as the delineation from the real world, versus digital, is fast disappearing as a way of life.