Assembly line and Human interaction

Last week our CTS lesson was about urbanisation and the impact of it on the human behaviour. This lecture was truly inspiring, and it raised up some questions in my mind, which I will try to answer, or analyse, in the realisation of this post. People’s everyday behaviour is associated with the biological behaviour of “ants”: apathetic individuals running through the underground tunnels, unconcerned of their surroundings.

I asked myself: why don’t we, as part of society, interact with each other?

I am an anxious person, but every morning I would love to greed people I meet in the tube, but an intense sensation on my stomach always holds me back. Curiosity is another feature which characterises me, but, again, I am not able to ask questions whenever and wherever they come into my mind. Furthermore, I always ask myself, why am I not brave enough to speak to the good looking guys that I might come across during the day? Instead, I use an app: Tinder. But, although the latter hides you behind the screen, and let you be whoever you like, many people don’t talk or answer your messages.

The curators of the app had also introduced sentences, such as “Size the day” or “Say hello”, when you have a match with someone you liked, to make people use the app and actualize its purpose. However, it looks like “likes” are the only thing that satisfies people. Self-acceptance doesn’t seem to be the answer. “According to research carried out over the past decade at the University of Chicago, the feeling of loneliness triggers what psychologists call hyper-vigilance for social threat. In this state, which is entered into unknowingly, the individual becomes hyper-alert to rejection, growing increasingly inclined to perceive social interactions as tinged with hostility or scorn. The result is a vicious circle of withdrawal, in which the lonely person becomes increasingly suspicious, intensifying their sense of isolation” (Laing O. 2015).

Although smartphones and the internet undoubtedly influence the human behaviour, human interactions have always been interrupted by the introduction of new technologies, such as the newspaper and, as I wrote in “Collaboration and awareness can change the world”, work.

Picture1

Commuters reading newspapers on a busy train in 1955. Photograph: Three Lions/Getty Images

 

Industrialisation has annulled the individuals’ genuine need of feeling others sentimentally close.
Human interaction began to gain meaning on building business relationships. During the first term of this year, we had the opportunity to have as a guest lecturer, David Kershaw, Chief executive of M&C Saatchi. At the end of his presentation he said that you could understand if a project would be either successful or not, if (while having a drink), the conversation with the client results pleasant. How many are the mergers between companies nowadays? WGSN and Stylesight, Orange and EE, GiffGaff and O2, also Tinder and Instagram. Facebook and its infinite merges. These collaborations haven’t become possible through emails or messages, but instead through one to one meetings and conversations.

The Logistics Manager, Charl Breytenbach, published a post on his Linkedin profile in 2015, about human relationships in business:

“I am taking it for granted that most of the readers of this post are or have been involved in the business world and are familiar with one of the most important elements to success – relationships. Whether it be with your colleagues, your managers, your investors, your vendors, you contractors, your customers or your cleaners, the human relationships we form in business are what drive things forward. I have over the years seen many hugely successful individuals write about how vitally important it is to build those all important relationships and nurture and grow them. I have witnessed the power of strong business relationships first hand and seen the things which can be achieved through them.” (Breytenbach C. 2015).

Furthermore, as the conclusion of his post, he writes: “in business, as in life, if you want to succeed, you have to build relationships and this is undoubtedly best, but not exclusively, achieved by talking to people establishing those all important human contacts.”

It seems that human interaction has become the means to do business, therefore, distanced from relationships amongst people on a daily basis. With the realization of this post in my mind, I have been observing my colleagues and customers at the Imperial War Museum Café, for a whole week. What I realised is that the assembly line has been extended to human interactions. Believe it or not, in front of the tills in my workplace, we have illustrated “the list of the seven customer service points”. Every single employee at The Café has attended a customer service training. Basically, we have been taught how to create interaction with the Guest. “Eye contact, smile and greet”. The training was actually interesting and enlightening because I realised how human communication is taken for granted in our hectic society. It is taken for granted at the point that people have to be trained to communicate and create connections.

However, people yet embrace human’s connection opportunities. They rather ask for indications although being equipped with super technological phones provided by the internet.

I personally always intervene when I see a stranger in an awkward situation: a lady with the baggy, or an elderly with massive shop bags. The 2nd of December 2015, I gave the last 20 pound in my purchase to a guy who apparently seemed to had lost his wallet, documents and keys. I had such a bad day at University that having a sort of human connection was the only thing to alleviate my sorrow.

Hyde Park’s Speakers’ Corner is worldwide well-known for being a place where anyone can freely express and share their opinions. In the Speakers’ Corner, the spectator can turn his role and be the one who make the speech. About these spots in London, Angela Markel, said: “We walked through Hyde Park looking for Speakers’ Corner, which – especially for us as East Germans – was legendary, the very symbol of free speech” (Merkel A. 2014, cited by SpeakersCorner). What moves people to speak in front of strangers is the will to be listened and understood by other human beings. Human interaction plays a huge role in this situation.

Amanda Burden, New York’s chief city planner under the Bloomberg administration, in a TED Talk, entitled “How public spaces make cities work”, demonstrates how important human relations are to understand and generate the development of a city. She explained how essential listening to people was for the New York’s vertical development plan, which would have had to host the incredibly number of 1 million of new New Yorkers, in the span of time of few years. Amanda spent “Thousands of hours of listening” to people, she said, “just to establish trust […] [and] get to understand the DNA of each neighborhood, and know what each street felt like”. I believe human interaction is at the base of sustain of our society. Amanda is devoted to creating public spaces, as she believes they “have power”, and are what makes cities work. She stated that “people feel better about their cities, just knowing that [public spaces] are there”, and the way she thinks when she plans a project is significantly close to people. She said “you don’t tap into your design expertise [when planning urbanisation], you tap into your humanity”, posing attention on people’s perception of public spaces, to materialise them.

I believe public spaces are the means to recreate human interaction. Maybe people should be freer within public spaces. We should have the chance to feel cities more like our space, and not as a place created due to fabricate profit. How annoying is the sign “Toilet for only customers’ use”? Or the waiter telling you that you can’t take a seat unless you want to order something. Our cities should be more furnished with public spaces, which suit the individual’s feeling entirely at home, and comfortable enough to share and interact with others. Other’s experiences are the most precious involvements you can have to learn about your surroundings, demands and our world with its mysteries.

(If you’re wondering, I haven’t seen the 20 pound back, so far)

Reference

Breytenbach C. 2015, “The Dying Art of Human Contact”, online source available from https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/dying-art-human-contact-charl-breytenbach accessed on January 2016

Laing O. 2015, “The Future of Loneliness: As we moved our lives online, the internet promised an end to isolation. But can we find real intimacy amid shifting identities and permanent surveillance?”, The Guardian, online source available from http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/apr/01/future-of-loneliness-internet-isolation accessed on January 2016

SpeakersCorner, online source available from http://www.speakerscorner.net accessed on January 2016

Bibliography

Breytenbach C. 2015, “The Dying Art of Human Contact”, online source available from https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/dying-art-human-contact-charl-breytenbach accessed on January 2016

TED Talk 2014, “Amanda Burden:How public spaces make cities work” TED2014 18:28, Filmed Mar 2014

 

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