The Unofficial Archive

Love in the Time of Technology by Emily Norton

Love in the Time of Technology

Photo by Astrid Zuidema

A woman and a man sit facing each other. Both are tense. Placed on a table between them is the latest medical technology in the form of a DNA test. Their genetic compatibility and future as a couple is only a saliva-swab away. After all, why waste your time on someone if biology has predetermine that the match is a no-go? Emily Norton presents this fictional scenario as a possible outcome of our increasing reliance on scientific insights. “New technology is changing every aspect of our lives, influencing even the most intimate of human experiences: love,” she says. She explores the nature of this influence and its social ramifications in Love in the Time of Technology. While her vision for the future may seem frightening, Norton also reveals how technology can enhance our relationships. She developed haptic tools to simulate and stimulate physical intimacy. “It’s about integrating high-tech communication into high-touch communication,” she explains. One tool transmits the absent partner’s pulse to encourage emotional closeness; another is a blanket that takes on the body temperature of your loved one, even if you are oceans apart. And so, Norton reveals that when it comes to human interaction, technology can open new doors. It’s up to us to question which of these we want to open.

Emily Norton