Cisco’s Hologram

By Mark T. Mitchell for FRONT PORCH REPUBLIC

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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