Face to Face, Part II

Blogs

August 31, 2010

I’d like to con­tinue to add to last week’s post. There I made the point that, although we are cer­tainly using tech­nol­ogy more and more for com­mu­ni­ca­tion, human beings will always rely on (and get the most joy from) face-to-face inter­ac­tion. Some of you may have heard of the iPhone 4. It’s Apple’s new smart­phone that’s sell­ing faster than borscht at a Men­non­ite Church potluck. One of the most adver­tised fea­tures of the iPhone 4 is “Face­Time,” a video con­fer­enc­ing tech­nol­ogy that allows you to chat with friends, fam­ily, and ene­mies face-to-face. When Apple launches the next gen­er­a­tion iPod Touch (tomor­row) and iPad, they’ll bring this fea­ture to the entire platform.

I’ve been fol­low­ing Apple for a long time, and they are actu­ally often behind the curve in tech­nol­ogy. Cell phones with front-facing video chat­ting cam­eras have been around for a long time. And com­put­ers with web­cams have been on shelves for years. Video chat­ting has been out there. But what’s inter­est­ing about Apple is that they don’t bring a prod­uct to mar­ket until they think the mar­ket is ready and, more impor­tantly, until they think the tech­nol­ogy is ready. Video chat­ting has been fraught with com­pli­ca­tions: cruddy cam­eras, poor inter­net con­nec­tions, and really badly writ­ten soft­ware. Apple has put a decent cam­era in the iPhone, writes great soft­ware, and is only allow­ing you to use wifi for Face­Time (not over the phone net­work). What this means is very sim­ple: the world is finally ready for video con­fer­enc­ing. Tech­nol­ogy has pro­gressed to the point that your 84 year-old grand­mother will be able to video chat with­out ask­ing you for tech support.

Seri­ously.

And here’s the whole point: while the world (read: the older gen­er­a­tion) has screamed and cried about the lack of face-to-face inter­ac­tion, tech­nol­ogy is slowly bring­ing us back. And the world (read: the older gen­er­a­tion) will have no prob­lem embrac­ing this tech­nol­ogy when they real­ize how easy it is.

In other words: we’re head­ing back to face-to-face, and that’s a good thing.

Tak­ing Heart,

Paul Loewen

PS. Check out the video

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