Social media is a modern day invention that aims to keep people connected, but mankind’s obsessive nature has turn it into one of the world’s greatest irony. The more we are connected, the more disconnected we are – thanks in part to the handy, ‘super computer’ – the smartphone. Apart from basic voice communication, smartphone allows access to social media services wherever, whenever and this result in folks interacting with their mobile devices more than they do with actual people sitting right next to them on a dining table. So, how do you get people to interact in the old fashion way when dining? Well, for Ikea Taiwan, it is to create a dining table that will compel diners to focus on the food and real interaction instead of taking selfie or composing Instagram-worthy foodfie, or checking out Facebook or Twitter every other minute.
The table appears rather nondescript; it looks like a regular table with integrated heating element for hot pot, but beneath, it hides a ‘sinister’ workings. In order to get the induction plate going to heat up the hot pot, the diners will have to surrender their phones. When it is ready to dig in, the induction plate raises, revealing an empty compartment beneath it. The compartment senses the phone placed in it and fires up the heating element to get the hot pot going. So, if anyone who cannot resist picking up calls, replying to texts or whatnot, and retrieves his or her phone, the stove will lower the heat, which result in them not being able to cook the food.
Not surprisingly, the diners encourages each other not to pick up the phone and subsequently, real conversation, along with laughter and teasing, ensures and humanity is restored, well, at least for the time the hot pot lasted. Obviously, this is more like social experiment which you will not see in any restaurant, but the video exemplifies the effect phone and social media on our real world social life. Food for thought. Have a look at the video below.