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Virtual Presence is Upon Us, IS LA OBSOLETE? Richard Lee Abrams

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Unread 09.03.10, 08:36 AM
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Virtual Presence is Upon Us, IS LA OBSOLETE? Richard Lee Abrams

Virtual Presence is Upon Us IS LA OBSOLETE?
Richard Lee Abrams

The rate at which ideas become obsolete is amazing. Even the word obsolete has become obsolete.

Let’s face it, my mother’s computer may be four years old, but it is not obsolete – for her. For me ...I’ve got to rush home from Fry’s to quickly install my newest computer knowing that by the time it’s running, the first article I read will explain why my computer is now obsolete.

Here’s a concept that became obsolete before it came to fruition – Tele-commuting. I used it last week and now it is being replaced by “Virtual Presence.” Dare I call it VirPre or VP? No wonder Twitter is limited to 140 characters; anything longer is too old to be worth saying.

Virtual Presence is the ability to be functionally wherever we wish without going there. Today’s version, Tele-commuting, is like the hand-crank phone in comparison to VP.

VP couples low-cost life-size 3-D monitors with high speed ‘pdfers’ with drastically enhance sound so that when you are next to your VP screen, you can interact with your son at college – assuming you can get him to turn on his camera knowing it is Dad and Mom who are veeping him.

Studies show that families do like each other and given an opportunity, they like to interact.

Unlike Tele-commuting, VP is not limited to business. But, businesses will habitually use it. The ability to truly interact will be so greatly enhanced, that it will be almost as good as actually being in the same room. With VP, however, a manager can be in Denver one moment and in Costa Rica the next. Let’s see a 10 billion dollar subway do that!


What do we want to do with our money? Do we really want to give trillions more dollars to mega-corporation to construct 19th Century choo-choo trails running beneath LA?

In the LA metro area, the distance between two places varies according to the time of day.

During rush hour, downtown can be an hour away from Van Nuys, but a 11:00 p.m., it’s 20 minutes. Angelenos have all the transportation infra-structure that we need.

We do not need another inch of freeway and we certainly do not need to squander billions on an idiotic subway beneath Wilshire Boulevard. A 20 mile long subway from downtown L.A. to Santa Monica will serve only 4% of the City of Los Angeles. Is that worth another $10 B in your money?

And what will we have when the subway is done? – a few corporations vastly will be vastly richer.

VP eliminates the need to dig these deep holes and to pour all this concrete. The only reason people in 2010 think it might be a good idea is that traffic is so congested all the time that it is hard to get from here to there.

When 30% of the trips are taken by VP, the streets and freeways will be humming. Buses will move faster. The cities with the lowest density will be the most desirable.

Virtual Presence frees us from the tyranny of physically moving our bodies by expensive mechanical means. If people were really concerned about reducing our dependence on foreign oil, they stampede their way to Virtual Presence. With VP oil consumption will plummet.

Without investment in 22nd Century technology, VP will be postponed. Just as Wall Street has sucked up all the capital since 2008 so that Main Street is loan-starved, the fixed rail international construction companies and the mega-developers are draining investment capital of every cent in order to stop Virtual Presence.

That is why LA is applying so much pressure to build high rise NOW – that’s the motivation behind the 30/10 Plan to construct 30 years of fixed rail transit in 10 years. Within 10 years, Virtual Presence will be upon us and no one would be dumb enough to build a subway.

We Angelenos need to ask whether we want to squander billions more of our tax dollars in order to saddle ourselves with technology from the 1800's or whether we want to move towards the 22nd Century.

(Richard Lee Abrams is an attorney in Los Angeles and a contributor to CityWatch. He can be reached at : rickleeabrams@gmail.com This email address is being protected from spam bots, you need Javascript enabled to view it ) -cw

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