The Atlantic had an interesting article about the overhead of zoom communication. Generally, speaking when normal senses are disrupted causes fatigue and distraction. The article listed the following:
Zoom fatigue has six root causes:
- asynchronicity of communication (you aren’t quite in rhythm with others, especially when connections are imperfect);
- lack of body language;
- lack of eye contact;
- increased self-awareness (you are looking at yourself a lot of the time);
- interaction with multiple faces (you are focusing on many people at once in a small field of view, which is confusing and unnatural);
- and multitasking opportunities (you check your email and the news while trying to pay attention to the meeting).
Many years ago mariner had an early experience with ‘zoom’ meetings using a different technology. His reaction reflected the above symptoms; he was unable to use normal intuitive insight into other participants’ motivations.
There is something reaffirming in the subconscious when humans talk to humans, an affirmation that is subtle for sure but does not occur when communication is directed through machines. A good experience is the difference between checking out the groceries with Kathy and checking out the groceries by yourself at a self-checkout. Another is the difference between ordering fast food from a kiosk versus ordering from a human. Human-to-human dialogue contains physiological affirmation of self.
The pandemic forced elementary school students to use remote computers instead of learning alongside other children and interacting directly with the teacher. Already several studies have come out describing the added difficulty to learn and the slowing of normal psychological development.
Maybe it will be better when we can all visit together at MetaDisney World.
 “How to Build a Life” is a weekly column in The Atlantic website written by Arthur Brooks, tackling questions of meaning and happiness.