Technological innovation may not give you a warm and cuddly feeling, but when it’s at its best, technology can do wonders to fortify and deepen our interpersonal connections. Messaging apps, digital collaboration tools, and financial technology that powers easier digital transactions (a.k.a. “fintech”) are examples of technological breakthroughs that are helping bring people together in surprising and novel ways. They’re poised to continue improving our lives as innovation allows technology to really understand how we live.

As Citi FinTech’s Chief Product Officer Carey Kolaja says, “The future will be powered by an emotional ecosystem that brings our families, our ideas, and our buying patterns together. As a product leader, I believe it’s imperative for us to understand the essence of user experience and how it ties to human psychology, senses, needs, wants, habits and emotion.”

Here are a handful of ways tech is poised to keep improving our connections.

1. FREEING UP MORE TIME FOR FRIENDS AND FAMILY

Not all tech advances radically change the world. Some of the most popular and widely adopted innovations simply make things we’re already doing easier—they turn a task that used to take minutes into one that takes seconds. Whether it’s controlling your thermostat or checking your account balances, a well-designed piece of technology can transform something that consumed time and mental bandwidth into a worry-free swipe of your finger, giving you more time to spend with friends and family.

2. HELPING MINIMIZE OUR SCREEN TIME

Tech products that are designed to enable and empower our lives behind the scenes can really take off quickly. There’s a reason why voice-activated personal assistants are fielding more than a billion queries about the weather, traffic, and all other manners of information each week. They fit seamlessly into our existing lives and provide real value throughout our day since you can use your voice to quickly and easily complete tasks that once required screen time. These products’ usefulness make us more likely to form an emotional connection and keep using them. The tech, in turn, uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to keep getting smarter in how it helps us solve our little everyday problems and answers our questions. When you don’t need as much screen time, there are more openings for real-life face time in your day.

3. MAKING FINANCIAL DISCUSSIONS LESS AWKWARD

We’ve all been to a group dinner in which the last 20 minutes became an awkward blizzard of calculators and counting out cash. As fintech, such as mobile payment apps, becomes increasingly widespread, this settling-up process will become a matter of a few taps on your phone. When there’s less hemming and hawing over how to divvy the check (or split the cab or chip in for your roommate’s grocery run), there’s more time for enjoying your friends’ company. Fintech helps make these financial transactions, which can be a source of intense interpersonal friction, a lot easier.

4. HELPING MAKE GOOD IDEAS A REALITY

Crowdfunding technology keeps breaking down barriers that may have previously kept good ideas from being realized. A 2016 survey showed that over 20 percent of American adults have contributed to crowdfunding campaigns, with 30 percent of respondents between ages 18 and 29 having taken part in a campaign. By democratizing the fundraising process and connecting dreamers and inventors to a new type of capital, technology is giving more innovative ideas their opportunity to become a reality.

5. ADDING EVEN MORE QUALITY TO QUALITY TIME

As tech continues evolving and improving, it becomes even easier to build and maintain a real connection with someone who isn’t in the same physical location as you. Think about how much easier it is to connect via video conferencing than it was even five or 10 years ago—seniors and other loved ones who live alone are now just a few keystrokes away. Now, think about how awesome it will be when you can interact with your friends, relatives, and colleagues in virtual reality. It will be the next best thing to being together in person.

6. VERIFYING THAT YOU REALLY ARE YOU

Developers keep finding new and brilliant ways to authenticate our identities online. With biometric authentication like fingerprints and voice recognition, tech is poised to keep getting better at verifying we are who we say we are. That knowledge can make it easier to trust the connections we make online. The more trust we have, the easier it will be to fully embrace the empowering aspects of fintech and having control of our financial data.

Whatever your financial goals are, Citi’s Open Banking platform can empower you to do more. With our global APIs, Citi Open Banking puts you in the driver’s seat with your financial data. Learn more at https://sandbox.developerhub.citi.com/.