“Solve the eye contact problem and you have the new email,” writes telecommunications analyst Steve Blum. “No eye contact, nothing new. It’s no different from Second Life, and at least there you can look like anyone you want.” But solving the eye contact problem does not seem like enough. Whatever the solution that is eventually devised, eye contact via video would still be skeuomorphic, still a simulation. And, consequently, so too do online ethics remain a skeuomorph of those we find in the physical world.
Perhaps, then, it is not eye contact that the internet needs, but some other currency of trust and recognition. The bitcoin of responsibility. A ground for ethics that is not simulated, but wholly its own – an experience that is as vitally native to the internet as eye contact is to the physical world. Something new for us to share.