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Markkula Center for Applied Ethics

Prophecies of Zoom

"All Staff Zoom Call with Vice President Biden, Dr. Biden, Senator Harris, and Doug Emhoff - Wilmington, DE - August 13, 2020" by Biden For President, cropped, used under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Irina Raicu

Irina Raicu is the director of the Internet Ethics program at the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics. Views are her own.

Your eyes will hurt.

You will spend much time muting and unmuting yourself, and trying to remember where to click to “raise your hand.”

You will get stressed out by your own facial expressions.

You will begin to adjust to a world in which, as Christina Cauterucci puts it, people “never quite meet your eyes… [instead] looking at their screen, a few inches below or to the side of their camera, giving you the perpetual feeling of trying to get the attention of someone who’s ever so slightly preoccupied.”

You will lean backward and look like you’re being swallowed, head first, by your background image.

You will accidentally send to every participant in the meeting a message that you had intended to “chat” to only one person.

You will feel guilty for using the “touch-up” filter.

You will accidentally click on the wrong “reaction” emoji, repeatedly.     

You will think that your microphone or camera are off when they’re not—and then have to make light of the embarrassing consequences.

You will have a hard time concentrating, and think, instead, about puns and top-10 lists. And worry while reading articles about presidential transition planning in “the age of Zoom.”

Photo: "All Staff Zoom Call with Vice President Biden, Dr. Biden, Senator Harris, and Doug Emhoff - Wilmington, DE - August 13, 2020" by Biden For President, cropped, used under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Oct 6, 2020

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