In this ongoing reflection on the infiltration of video phones into our increasingly futuristic lives, I’d like to note that just a few years after the Jetsons brought the technology to pop culture (1962), Stanley Kubrick, in 2001 Space Odyssey (1969), sent the video phone into space. And yet, despite the fact that broadband is here, Skype is free, and the iPhone has Facetime, we’re still not typically inclined to make video calls. Perhaps it’s just too much privacy thrown out the window, or I suspect people just prefer to narrow the bandwidth of their electronic relations.
However, if there is any phenomenon that invokes post reality symptoms of blurred distance, it’s the video phone. Distance becomes irrelevant, you can be anywhere, but you’re essentially collapsed into an electronic space that proves nearly as intimate as the so-called, formerly known as, “in person” experience. I realize we’re missing a few of the senses, but there is no doubt that with the global extension of our reach, the video phone is an extraordinary mechanism for maintaining relationships that would otherwise be impossible. The difference between a phone call and a Skype call is profound. Situating the other person visually creates a powerful sense of shared space.
When we begin our celestial travel to distant planets, there no reason why we should ever be out of touch!