Smart city seeds are already being planted around the world.A council in London has an intelligent personal assistant designed to help residents locate information, and the world's first driverless bus service has already come to the French city of Lyon.But as we sit on the cusp of massive technological advances, the near future could exacerbate this growing problem. It is indiscriminate of age, country, and social status.In Britain, more than one in eight people say they don't consider anyone a close friend, and the number of Americans who say they have no close friends has roughly tripled in recent decades.But city-dwellers will see incremental changes outside of their workspace, too.Thanks to self-service checkouts and home delivery services, technology is creating less of a need for us to actually interact with those around us.
But in a future where robots sound and objects look increasingly sentient, we might be less inclined to seek out behaviors to abate our loneliness.
While smart, connected cities could be great for efficiency, some worry they could be putting technology before humanity. jobs are already "at risk" of being automated in the next 20 years, according to one paper.