Video Phones?

We all remember well the phones that they had in Back to the Future. The image of the person you were talking to appeared on a gigantic screen on the wall. Video phones. They were the future. (Among other things.)



Today video phoning seems well within our grasp. In fact, Murray informs me that it's fairly common in Japan and Korea, but that Americans are a little resistant to this new technology. Murray suggested that people might be uncomfortable with the fact that they can't lie about where they are. If you call, you see the surroundings of the person you're calling. (Ever take a call while you're on the can? "Echo? What echo? Oh... yeah, I'm in a hallway of a big building...)

But I have started thinking about it as it applies to my situation as a stay-at-home professional. Although I have standards and ideals, I don't always live up to my own standards and ideals. For example, ideally, I should shower before I walk across the hall and go to work. But often I go into the office in my pajamas (read: underwear) and work for a few hours. Today, my computer needed an update that required restart, and that (combined with my own stench) convinced me that I should get up and take a shower. So now I'm back in front of my computer, but I haven't done my makeup.


If I lived in a country where video telephone calls were standard, I'd have to reevaluate how I do things. Take a look at this picture. My shirt looks sloppy. I need makeup. I told Murray that the back of his chair is an appropriate place to keep his painting tshirt, but if clients can see it, it's sloppy and unprofessional. (Murray, until the standardization of the video phone, I still approve of you using your chair as painting shirt storage.) I'd need to make sure that my office is tidy every day. I'd need to evaluate what art projects are on the peg board. In fact, I'd probably have to do away with the peg board altogether and put up something more professional like bookshelves.

So right now, even though the video phone seems like a next logical step, it actually would make my life less convenient right now. And for the rest of the growing number of telecommuters and work at home professionals as well, I think!

Murray and I have been talking about creating a time capsule of 10- (or 15?) year predictions of what the future will be like. I'm going to have to consider the idea of the video phone very carefully before I add it to my list of things I expect to see in 2018. Maybe in 2018, from my well-organized perfectly tidy office, I will (in full dress and makeup) be rereading this post and laughing at my reticence to accept this new techology.

8 comments:

Murray Terreno di Amore said...

I think that by 2015 we will have them because that is whe n Back To The Furture II takes place and that means we only have like 6 years to get flying cars and hoverboards AND Camera Phones. I mean you gotta admit that it IS impressive that a movie made in 1989 predicted plat screen TVs....we shall see.

AmandaStretch said...

I use Skype video calling to talk to my family sometimes, so I do have to consider what's behind me, what I'm wearing (or not wearing), etc. I'd probably be a lot cleaner at home if I did it more often.

AzĂșcar said...

Yeah, I'm going to be keeping video /off for the foreseeable future. No one needs to know my doing the dishes outfit. Are they seriously telling us that no one in all of Asia ever takes a call in their undies?

bedelia said...

My husband's family is way into the video calling over the internet. They want to do it every Sunday. I hate it because of all the things you mentioned. Plus I feel like such a slug of an in-law cause I have to make an appearance and i just don't want to. I think its weird staring at the computer watching each other talk, plus the delay time, ugg, I hate it.

Rachel said...

One of my clients (who is in Australia) asked me if I had Skype. I hesitantly replied that I did, thinking up lies about why I couldn't use the videophone function ("I don't have a webcam." "My webcam is broken." Etc.). For I, too, mostly work sans makeup, hair all a-swirl, in my pajamas. I breathed a deep sigh of relief when she informed me it was for conference calls with her designer and to save her money on international calling. Whew!

SUUguy said...

Despite the drawbacks of not being able to talk in your underwear, I think it would freak out the younger generation. We're all used to texting each other and not having to worry about the human element of conversation. Having to look at someone while we're talking to them would scare us senseless. :P

C. said...

Definitely not okay with the video phones. I talk in bed/in pajamas/while plucking eyebrows and/or getting dressed far too often.

JES said...

Somebody has no doubt already thought of this and is peddling, via infomercial, big collapsible neutrally colored screens which you can unfurl behind you to make/take video calls. Likewise, you can probably get clothing like hospital gowns which you can throw on in a hurry.

Which of course won't help those of us who desperately need showers and at least a couple shots of caffeine before facing the world. Perhaps some artfully applied Vaseline on the camera lens...