As micro-civilizations organize in various forms (cities, regions, countries, cults, clubs, etc.) throughout the world, I believe that we, as a species, will iteratively get closer and closer to what I think of as a “state of information density.” I see information density – the flux of ideologies between peoples – as a primary driver of innovation and societal progress.
Broadly, I believe general information density can be achieved in one of four ways:
- Cheap housing
- Pro-development regulation
- Efficient and inexpensive transportation
As society places a continued weight on the value of achieving information density, we will continue to see significant investment in each of areas. In today’s essay, I explore the last of these four efforts – telepresence.
Telepresence is defined as “the use of virtual reality technology, especially for remote control of machinery or for apparent participation in distant events.”
Before diving into some of my early thoughts on the future of telepresence, I want to start with some gut feelings about “remote work.”
I think that, in the past few years, we have seen the romanticization of the remote working environment.
“Everyone should be able to work anywhere. Remote work will enable a whole new generation of people to participate in the economy.”
Do you believe in this statement?
Have you ever worked remotely? Are you as effective? More effective? Are you a valuable, contributing team member when you are not in the office?
I think…as you may be able to tell by the tone of this essay…very few companies get remote right. Notice the nuance of that statement, “get remote right.”
I am not saying “getting remote right” is impossible in 2018. What I am saying, rather, is that the “script” to scaling remote companies, in terms of organizational structure, processes, and culture building, has yet to be written.
Working remotely has a whole new set of challenges and things that you have to tackle. How do you scale culture? How do you build checks and balances in a remote environment? All interesting questions that are still being solved, experimented, and tested.
While I am confidently optimistic about the future of remote work, I am uncertain about its current positioning:
Existing companies have a really tough time hiring and becoming remote. You see all of these interesting “outsource your team companies” – see Terminal – do you think they will work?
Anyways, enough about my thoughts on the current state of remote – perhaps those warrant a much longer blog post – this essay is another dive into information density and telepresence. On an infinite time horizon, I think that building true telepresence will unlock massive efficiency in the economy.
I previously worked at Daily, they are building cool video chat software.
While I think we are still far from truly great and enjoyable telepresence software, I am very excited about its future. I think that if we can nail working with people remotely, making it feel like they are truly in the room…we can empower literally a new generation of types of workers.
This will solve the housing problem. This will allow people to work anywhere.
This will be massive.
Imagine digital co-working spaces.
Digital white boards. Digital forums to talk on. Digital textbooks. Digital communities.
They are already being built!
Just wait as they scale and become more mainstream.
On a really long term horizon, I am excited by fully-immersive VR. What if we could work in VR?
Also published on Medium.