Over the next few years there will be many new applications of social technology, even without the stimulus of this website. Some possible ones are listed here, though many might find a more appropriate home at the companion Technological Fantasies website.
Some of these future applications of social technology will come from people’s individual needs, expressed by sentences beginning “I wish I could …”.
One example is an application of real-time facial recognition software, to satisfy someone who says “I wish I could know he was telling the truth” about an online conversation.
The ability to hold a conversation with video over the Internet is already a kind of social technology, but it has its limitations. Those are most severe when coupled with another application, which helps people find others for marital or sexual relationships. The latter are not well developed at all, but prevalent enough to cause trouble. The combination of interpersonal matching technology with software to reveal the other person’s true emotional involvement and honesty would be safer and better.
It may seem as though software to detect another person’s emotions and see if they match their spoken words is by far the harder problem. Actually, it is the interpersonal searching and matching which is the most difficult. It is easy to show that problems of matching people grow much harder as the number of individuals increases. Typically the amount of computing power needed goes according to the cube of the number of participants.
This also applies to the corresponding problem of matching employers to employees. A reliable employment service that solves this problem must make use of social technologies far beyond anything available today.
In finding jobs for people, their appearance does not especially matter, nor should it. In interpersonal matching for marital and other sexual relationships, they are extremely important. At the moment, people using dating services depend on pictures of their possible mates. That is almost as bad as depending on their self-generated descriptions. Instead, a person might say “I wish I could find someone with the kind of face I like, without looking through all of these pictures.”
It should be possible to express a person’s preference for specific facial and body types in terms of a feature space. This could be done by having individuals select those they most and least like from a set of lifelike but computer generated samples.
There are several other applications related to the general area of interpersonal matching, which will be discussed on other pages.