Today, cities exist because human beings need to meet face to face.
They need to meet face to face because every other communication means is an ersatz.
A worthy goal would be to uncover what is missing from the videoconference, and create a new means of distant communication that can transmit that.
Human ResearchThe plan consists of a research phase, involving actors, Korsakoff patients and MRI.
Using a variety of communication means and the MRI to analyze the patient's reaction to the actor's delivery through those means, it should be possible to extract information about the missing communication bit.
Actors are the best candidates as emitters because they're the most qualified to express the same feelings with low variance.
Korsakoff patients are the best candidates as receptors because they are the only people capable of being a blank slate every day.
Care should be taken that both emitters and receptors be shielded against parasitic information, and what remaining parasitic state be recorded as experiment metadata (i.e. MRI before starting for both of them).
Prototype ResearchOnce the perceived difference is observed and qualified/quantified, it will be time to try and understand the nature of the missing communication waves (most probably em, brain waves, but you never know).
I think the best approach to that would be to build a 2x1m "screen" that would of course output light and sound, but also replicate the em input.
And on the other side, you'd have a set of "cameras" capturing video, audio and em input.
Since the missing communication part is almost certain to be transmitted in straight line in the real world, a single 2x1m "em window" should do the trick.
Then, we would once again use the MRI to compare with real-world face-to-face communication.
Money TimeOnce a two-way solution is built, this system will enable people to move out from big cities without missing out on job opportunities.
Considering the housing costs in New York or Paris, it is clear that even if the prototype were to cost $1Million, there would still be customers (a company in Silicon Valley could use one such prototype to human-link with an office in Europe where they hired three engineers for the price of one in the valley, for example).