In The Naked Sun by Isaac Asimov, each human on Solaria stays far from everyone else. To see or be seen in person is disgusting and obscene. Instead, attended by robots, humans “view” one another remotely through holograms.
I thought of Solaria when my branch bank closed its face-to-face drive-up window in favor of video screens and pneumatic tubes, presumably for security. I think of it now as we talk to neighbors via devices instead of walking across the lawn.
One character in The Naked Sun eventually escapes to a saner, more nurturing planet. Our escape shouldn’t require leaving Earth, but there’s another possibility. How long would it take for our psyches to adapt, elevating physical closeness from risky or imprudent to a lasting cultural taboo?
I'm a historian who writes novels and literary nonfiction. My home base is Madison, Wisconsin.