RE: it's official, you're a freak

From: Sean Kenny (
Date: Thu Aug 02 2001 - 15:44:29 MDT

I have (about 3 years ago) posted to this list argueing that the plaintext
puritans have got it wrong. I would much prefer a list of video postcards,
so I could see body language, tone of voice, verbal nuances etc. I post
rarely because I'm not altogether sure of how my posts will come across,
plus my spellings not too good :). But I'm quite happy to make a video of
myself because I feel I'm slightly more articulate in person than I am on

> -----Original Message-----
> From:
> []On Behalf Of Eugene Leitl
> Sent: 02 August 2001 20:25
> To: extropy
> Subject: it's official, you're a freak
> -- Eugen* Leitl <a href="">leitl</a>
> ______________________________________________________________
> ICBMTO : N48 10'07'' E011 33'53''
> 57F9CFD3: ED90 0433 EB74 E4A9 537F CFF5 86E7 629B 57F9 CFD3
> Lets face it, man is not made to communicate electronically
> Cell phones and e-mail may have become common forms of communication in
> the 21st century, but centuries of evolution have made face-to-face
> communication man?s preferred method, says Dr. Ned Kock, director of the
> E-Collaboration Research Center in Temple University?s Fox School of
> Business and Management.
> "There is a principle from evolution theory called the ?repeated use
> principle,? which argues that we have to repeatedly use a medium of
> communication, an organ, or a task so that our biological apparatus
> becomes optimized to use that tool or perform that task," says Kock.
> "Since we have communicated during most of the past three to five million
> years by using face-to-face interaction, you have to conclude that we have
> optimized our biological apparatus for that type of communication.
> Kock argues that a lot of today?s electronic communications takes us too
> far away from face-to-face communication, and requires increased cognitive
> effort on our part. "For example, a telephone allows us to use tone of
> voice," says Kock. "It?s synchronous, so we have immediate feedback on
> what we say."
> But, Kock points out, since the telephone doesn?t allow one person to see
> the other, a bit more cognitive effort is required when communicating over
> the telephone, as opposed to face-to-face. "Now, if we go to e-mail,
> there?s considerably more cognitive effort required than over the
> telephone," he says.
> Kock did a study in which he compared twenty groups performing complex
> tasks--ten groups interacting by face-to-face, and the other ten via
> e-mail. The study indicates that the amount of time cognitive effort
> (measured as "time") required to convey a certain number of ideas via
> email is between 5 and 15 times than required to convey the same ideas in
> a face-to-face conversation.
> "In a typical conversation, we exchange hundreds, maybe thousands, of
> words. If you measure the time it takes for that conversation to take
> place, and then try to have the same conversation over e-mail and measure
> the time that takes, you would get a time that is considerably higher than
> the face-to-face conversation," he says.
> Kock contends that it is our innate schemas that make us view it as more
> difficult to communicate through any medium other than face-to-face. "We
> have optimized our biological communication apparatus for face-to-face
> communications," he continues. "As we move away from it, the more
> cognitive effort is needed."
> Man?s ability to learn, which is the highest in the animal kingdom, may
> eventually serve as a counterbalance to our predisposition to use
> face-to-face communications.
> "In other words, if we use e-mail for very complex communications for
> many, many years, and we avoid face-to-face communications, obviously,
> we?re going to become good at using e-mail for that type of
> communications," says Kock. "But our predisposition toward face-to-face
> communications won?t go entirely away."
> Where is this leading us? Kock believes to the point that we are trying to
> make electronic communications as close to face-to-face as we can.
> He points out that some successful online companies like
> are developing technologies that give a company?s online customers the
> impression that they?re dealing with a live person over the Web.
> "What is the reason for that?" questions Kock. "The reason is because we
> tend to spend less cognitive effort in communications activities when we
> have face-to-face like interactions. Even if those face-to-face-like
> interactions are virtual."

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