Cisco is boasting that its new communications technology will change the way we engage others. Indeed, when a hologram of a man in California appears before an audience in India and has a conversation with a “real” person, things feel a bit odd. Is this a mere gimmick that will confine itself to business meetings of tech companies or will this soon be part of our everyday experience?  What is gained when a holographic figure replaces an image on a screen or a voice on the phone? I have to admit the technology is amazing, but is it significant? With this I could live in a cabin in Montana and teach classes in Virginia and hold regular office hours as well. Would the students find this satisfying? Would I? Could this technology affect the way we think about bodily existence?

Could this technology change the way we think about space and time? Will we think of geography differently when it can be so easily traversed (or sort of traversed)? These questions are especially interesting when we consider children today who will grow up in a world where space and time has been changed by these kinds of technologies. Will the children of this new world think and act differently from us? Will they have different expectations? Will their lives be richer or more ephemeral? Or both?

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Mark T. Mitchell
Mark T. Mitchell teaches political theory at Patrick Henry College in Purcellville, VA. He is the author Michael Polanyi: The Art of Knowing and The Politics of Gratitude: Scale, Place, and Community in a Global Age (Potomac Books, 2012). He is co-editor of another book titled, The Humane Vision of Wendell Berry. Currently he is writing a book on private property. In 2008-9, while on sabbatical at Princeton University, he and Jeremy Beer hatched a plan to start a website dedicated to political decentralism, economic localism, and cultural regionalism. A group of like-minded people quickly formed around these ideas, and in March 2009, FPR was launched. Although he was raised in Montana and still occasionally longs for the west, he lives in Virginia with his wife, three sons and one daughter where they are in the process of turning a few acres into a small farm.


  1. Office meetings are not bad enough that we might enable multiple and simultaneous ones around the globe?

    Personally, I can’t wait till our national quiephobia is abetted by a crowd of holographic images jockeying about us for our attentions during every waking minute. Sleep will never be such a relief as then.

    Amazing technological accomplishment to be sure. Perhaps at some point we’ll come to know how to professionally deal with our technological ability.

  2. “With this I could live in a cabin in Montana and teach classes in Virginia and hold regular office hours as well.”

    No, with this a teacher could live in Mumbai and teach your classes in Virginia and hold regular office hours as well.

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