Bob Garfield & Lawrence Weschler
Someday, decades and decades hence, following some sort of terrible ecological collapse, all mankind has been reduced to living underground, in hexagonal rooms “like the cells of a bee” with no apertures and throbbing ventilation, each cell containing a single individual, though everyone is connected to everyone else by way of a vast hive of intermeshed video screens. Zoom, as it were, avant la lettre. For this is how the great E. M. Forster’s visionary 1909 story “The Machine Stops” begins, with a son calling out to videoconference with his mother on the other side of the globe, to chat and to complain,
“The Machine is much, but it is not everything.
I see something like you in this plate, but I do not see you.
I hear something like you through this telephone, but I do not hear you.”