In the first 3 chapters of Open Sky, written by Paul Virilio, he discusses our society’s change in interpersonal communication. He emphasizes the importance of changing the ways in which our communication is deteriorating. One thing I thought was interesting was Virilio’s concern about face to face interaction. Virilio would agree that in order to retain traditional communication we must protect the sanctity of these interactions.
New technology has made communication possible without ever seeing the other person’s face. Transportation, cell phones, and the internet have all helped foster a world in which you can no someone without having ever met them.
Transportation has changed in that it is no longer needed. It once took months to travel to a new place, then weeks, then days, and now just hours. But why would someone travel to a new physical spot, when they can accomplish the same thing from their own home?
Cell phones have enabled people to communicate without ever seeing the other person’s face. You’ve probably all been in a situation where you met someone for the first time and thought “wow, they don’t look like what I imagined on the phone”. We are able to envision a person, and even know a person very well, without ever having laid eyes on them.
The internet is even worse than cell phones. With the internet, you aren’t just lacking a face to the name. You could be fooled about a person’s appearance, or it could be hidden from you. The internet enables anyone to create an identity, and this cyber world lacks the intimacy and reality of a face to face conversation.
These new technologies are taking away something valuable- they’re removing our appreciation of the physical. We no longer require a face to a name; we will take the virtual form. Virilio’s concern is that one day; our value of the physical will disappear.
Do you agree with that? Do you think that modern technology, especially the internet, erases the need for physical contact with other people? Or do you think that technology just paves the way for physical contact to be made?