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Why living purely digital is nuts

Building on this discussion, I got into an online argument with someone who accused my views of being generational, e.g. old people want face-to-face, young people don’t care. They argued that sex will be better in virtual worlds and no one needs to go out anymore. They believe we can live in a purely digital world.

That’s so sad.

If that is the future of planet Earth, then I’m off to Mars. The future cannot be purely digital.

We need relationships. We need to touch, to feel, to be with each other. Our senses are sight and sound that can be serviced digitally, but we also have smell, taste and touch which cannot be serviced digitally. If we purely service two senses and lose three others, we lose our humanity.

I love the feel of other people and it’s not a generational thing. It’s a human thing.

Sure, I can happily live digitally for some time – maybe a year in a lockdown – but I need the buzz and sense and smell and taste and touch of life. I need the world of people.

This is also an important ingredient of considering how to do digital.

When we implement digital banking, digital service, digital structures, we may consider the sight and sound of the app, but what about its’ smell, taste and touch? Is that a weird question? I don’t think so.

How does that swipe feel? How does that app make me feel? How does your bank present itself? What is your bank’s smell and taste?

Feelings. Senses. Humanity.

These are essentials and, above all, a sense of belonging. Isn’t that one of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs?


Oh, it’s the middle one.

So, basically, after you have safety, a home and food, your next need is to feel that you belong with other people. Can that be achieved digitally?

Sure, you can be with other people digitally … for a while … online … but IT IS NOT THE SAME.

Someone said that I perceived the comment to be that it’s better to be digital, rather than physical. I didn’t interpret it that way, and I’m not viewing it as an age thing, I’m viewing this as a human thing.

Living totally alone, digitally, with no human connection, no touch, taste or smell of humanity, is inhuman. It’s not normal. It’s not right. It’s bad. You might as well be in jail.

We need to get back together.

About Chris M Skinner

Chris M Skinner
Chris Skinner is best known as an independent commentator on the financial markets through his blog, TheFinanser.com, as author of the bestselling book Digital Bank, and Chair of the European networking forum the Financial Services Club. He has been voted one of the most influential people in banking by The Financial Brand (as well as one of the best blogs), a FinTech Titan (Next Bank), one of the Fintech Leaders you need to follow (City AM, Deluxe and Jax Finance), as well as one of the Top 40 most influential people in financial technology by the Wall Street Journal’s Financial News. To learn more click here...

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