The Stream

Lonely in a social world

Can new tech and services combat the age-old phenomenon of loneliness?

Loneliness has inspired some of the world’s greatest music, poetry, literature and art. The richest and most powerful often describe life at the top as lonely. It’s a normal human emotion that everyone feels from time to time, but it’s quickly becoming  profitable for companies promising an end to loneliness.


There are now apps to connect with friends, professional cuddlers for hire and robots whose artificial intelligence is designed to make human connections. More and more technology and services are being used to fill the gap that loneliness often creates.

Research shows that some amount of loneliness may be genetic. Other studies have demonstrated that the toll it takes on the human body can be devastating and may even impact mortality, regardless of age. Psychologists have been raising the alarm bells on just how pervasive it is in our society, despite the fact that we are always “plugged in”.

So even though we are the most connected we have ever been, is the technology enough to combat this disconnect? 

On this episode of The Stream, we speak with:

Timothy Smith @revealedfaith
Psychology professor, Brigham Young University

Olivia June Poole @oliviajune
Founder and CEO, Hey! VINA app

Kira Newman @kiramnewman
Editor and web producer, Greater Good Science Center

Samantha Hess @CuddleUpToMe
Founder, Cuddle Up To Me

What do you think? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.