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After I ended my last video call yesterday, I was reminded of a sci-fi story about people who never leave home. In The Naked Sun, Isaac Asimov describes how a detective from Earth is sent to the planet Solaria to investigate a murder. He experiences culture-shock when he discovers that people there have become so reliant on technology for all their daily needs that they avoid face-to-face contact and human touch at all cost, preferring instead to communicate virtually for work and play.

Meet and chat online

In the past few months, Earth feels a little like Solaria. I’m still getting used to the culture-shock of limiting my contact with people, teleconferencing for work, and confining myself at home. Without being surrounded by a team of people bouncing ideas off each other, I’m probably taking twice as long to create content. Frustrated with myself, I huff and I puff and I potter around the house, which in turn distracts my wife teleconferencing in the next room. Ready or not, Covid-19 is disrupting the way we live, work, play, rest, and communicate. Family members working and studying from home are discovering the very real effects of cabin fever. And with video calls and instant messages replacing the bulk of face-to-face interactions at the office, organisations are struggling to manage their teams and workflows. Although we’re nowhere near Solarian society today, who can predict what our way of life will look like in a year or two? The work of Smol Tok - of forming, building, and maintaining relationships through meaningful conversations - has also been affected by Covid-19. The challenge we’re grappling with now is how to facilitate meaningful conversations online whilst preserving the human ‘touch’ of connection. For example, with Secret Supper put on hold indefinitely, would players who don't know each other still be keen to