Getting a glimpse at the group video chat service Zoom made me think a lot about the future of distance, group interactions. Having everyone’s zoomed in head within its own little box, lined up on the screen was a little disconcerting. I think that seeing the realness of each others faces made me expect a more realistic spatial representation of the group. The gridded video on Zoom is also different from traditional face-to-face interactions in that it would be really impossible, not to mention uncomfortable to be zoomed in on everyone’s face at the same time within physical space.
This made me think of another approach to group-distance collaboration – virtual worlds. Most exciting to me in this field is the impending release of High Fidelity. (highfidelity.io) I think real-time avatar manipulation is the way to go! Conducting a class in a virtual world, all played out by avatars manipulated by learners in real-time (in other words, when they blink in front of their web browser, their avatars blink immediately after) would be a fun experiment.