Concluding Remarks

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Interaction:

To be continued...

In the end, what conclusions might be derived on a general level from this book?

Well, I believe that one conclusion is that interaction is something fundamental

to us as human beings and therefore a natural and sometimes necessary part of

many of our everyday activities. Due to this necessity of being able to communicate

with “anyone, anytime, anywhere” it is not a surprise to see that the

different chapters in this book span across so many seemingly disparate settings.

Rather, interaction is ubiquitous and a core aspect of us as humans and, as such,

it is easy to understand why so many current attempts on supporting interaction

rely on the two most widespread and established technological infrastructures of

the modern society as mentioned in the introduction to this book, i.e., the Internet

and the global mobile phone network because, as of today, a lot of social

interaction takes place on the Internet in different online forums, chat rooms,

bulletin boards, communities, news groups, discussion lists, via email discussions,

or maybe as instant messaging conversations, and on the other hand, one

of the most widely adopted technologies to support human interaction “in the

wild,” i.e., outside the computer, is the mobile phone, which makes sense since

another core aspect of us as human beings, besides our needs and willingness to

interact, is that we are mobile, sometimes in motion and some other times just

located at some place waiting to catch a bus, or standing maybe in a line to a rock

concert. A final conclusion that might be drawn from this book has to do with the

importance of understanding the temporal aspects of the interaction landscape

that these new technologies enable. Conversations with others do not exist in a

vacuum having a clear starting and stopping point. Rather, conversations are

ongoing and typically multithreaded and have both a history and a future. This

continuity aspect of social interaction should therefore always be a focal issue

when designing new technologies for the Interaction Society and a core focus in

any analysis of what is going on out there. This book is therefore not a book that

has tried to summarize the Interaction Society and put it all together in a nice box.

Rather, this book is an attempt to highlight an evolving process that is in the making

literally as we speak, and by doing so it should hopefully enable us to understand

what this new paradigm of computerization can do for us, and what it does to us,

not solely on a cognitive level this time, but rather in relation to our fundamental

social needs. While the computer of yesterday was about getting things done as

quickly as possible, this book has hopefully shown that ideally, the computer of

tomorrow will help us to prolong, sustain and develop the things we care about the

most, i.e., our ongoing interactions with others.