Communications technology has effectively cheapened the experience of presence (the "metaverse" will cheapen it even further), and this has revalued it across the entire spectrum of possibilities for experience. We might expect that as video calls become routine and trivial, face-to-face encounters would become dense with ontological significance. But what has happened is that the concept of "real" presence has become confused, more difficult to believe in, harder to locate as it is happening so that we can properly assign it a value. As Molotkow suggests, "presence" may feel real only in the midst of moments of intense separation; it may register only at a distance.

(reallifemag)