This video would have one believe that a computer-to-computer interaction is impersonal, while a phone call is much more “human”. To some extent, I would agree with that, but then the question that arises is – aren’t the two protagonists still separated by distance, and the only thing that has changed between them is the medium of communication ?

So what is being depicted here ? The illusion that somehow “voice” makes all the difference, and adds a much more personal and human touch. And an illusion is what it really is, because it may be nice to hear a voice but it does not reduce the distance. Psychologically, perhaps, it has a placatory effect – the illusion of non-mediation referred to in the Steve Kolowich article. In the article, the reference is to students who are able to trust a professor more if they can see him, and in the video the “seeing” factor is replaced by “hearing” – the voice call.

Another question that bothers me, in relation to Kolowich’s article, is that would a voice call really inspire “trust”, or address the distance issue ? Maybe to some extent it would induce a feel-good factor, which is perhaps the point of this video. But to my mind, it still does not come anywhere close to real thing – the face-to-face communication.

No technology can ever replace that.