As I was singing in the cathedral today I was thinking about this
Real time audio collaboration tools, while amazing for 2 or 3 can’t compare to being in the midst of a thousand voices. Yet, those same thousand voices really can’t be there for the death of a family member or the 3AM suicide attempt of a teenager. In the future, I could easily see robotic hands and haptic glove technology outrunning the vast majority of in person communities in the 11th hour domain… its an exceedingly rare church that is will to, or even able to take on such a ministry.
Granted, none of the above in online only mode are truly better than an in person encounter… but when such scenarios don’t occur, online approximations are no longer an excuse for community not to take action, but are solutions to needs left unmet by the in person community. In an ideal world, in person and online would likely be complementary to one another, and/or fall backs for illness etc…
Certainly fear of irrelevance is a player in this, but there is also the issue of technology outrunning humanity. Considering that artificial intelligence is being paired up with robotics to create therapy bots for elder care. No humanity is needed short of the initial programming, and such fills in part of the gaps created by the fairly common distant, or non existent familial connection… but what if it goes beyond that? Is it ok that grandma is visited once a year being you got her a bot for the rest of the time? What about robopastors and robofaith formation?