Non-copresent beer

One of my favorite ways to emotionally bond with somebody is to just go out to a bar and share a beer. And maybe some fries and ketchup.

Then we just talk about whatever we are moved to talk about. Life, love, work, movies, relationships, whatever — it sort of doesn’t matter. There is something about just sitting across a table at a bar somewhere and shooting the breeze that brings people together.

One thing I’ve been wondering is whether this experience can be replicated for two people who are not physically co-present with each other. Assuming technology were advanced enough to support very high quality visual and auditory holographic telecommunication, would it work to share a beer with someone who was actually physically elsewhere?

I think it’s an important question for the following reason: Whatever the answer turns out to be, it will shine light on something fundamental about the connection between the human mind and the human body.

Suppose it turns out that true bonding over beer requires actual physical co-presence. In that case, I think we will have learned something fundamental about the limits of human telecommunication.

Those limits would not be about technology itself, but about something innate within ourselves, informed by millions of years of evolution. To wit: In order to truly bond with somebody on a deep emotional level, we must actually be in the presence of each other’s unique and vulnerable physical body.

One Response to “Non-copresent beer”

  1. I wonder if there is a way to tell the difference between “we need physical presence” and “the technology is not good enough yet”.

    In any case, I would be happy to be a test subject…

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