One of the cornerstones of the Digital Revolution is efficiency, specifically efficient sharing of information. Starting with the Internet and watching the burst of artistic and intelligent video games, smartphones, and even the process of constructing self-driving cars, Nature’s Richard Hodson points out that people were and still are concerned about Artificial Intelligence weeding out important positions of work. However, it seems clear that AI, having been built to assist in our productivity, is only bolstering everyday life. There was initial concern about the effects of smartphones, and while tech companies are addressing these concerns in their new work, there has not been substantial evidence to suggest that smartphones damage mental health in the ways we feared.
Emoji, also known as emoticons, fit perfectly under the umbrella of the information boom: they allow for easier and more direct textual communication and they are not based in any particular dialect. Emojis are the perfect tool for global connection. Like other technologies, there has been concern that their influence would interrupt our society, but emojis have only allowed us to dive deeper and quicker into our lives.
According to experimental psychologist Dr. Monica Riordan, emoji feed our need to build strong relationships; she explains that one character can represent an entire story between friends, and loved ones have the opportunity to build a mutual language that only they can understand, no matter how far apart geographically.
The Unicode Consortium, led by Google software developer Mark Davis, is in charge of approving new emoji. However, it is not solely focused on these new characters. Their priority, explains Davis, is to ensure that people can text in their preferred language and their device will recognize their language’s characters. It is only fitting that the consortium is in charge of this new addition to our global communication, but it only supplements the drive for connection that we already have.