This to me feels like a microcosm of the greater issue, which is that we are losing touch with our human side. My plea is built like a sandwich, with a cogent intellectual argument sandwiched between an emotional appeal to the particular person I'm writing to. In this case, since wasn't at least interested enough in my first compliment to finish the sentence, I cut to a simple statement of my concern. I occurs to me that it could be that what was writing back was a machine, except for the fact that a machine would pretend to some kind of politeness. This is exactly the problem! Upon reading a great paper on The Future of Humanity, by Nick Bostrom, (arguably the world's leading AI expert, to whom I also wrote) I got the creepy feeling that all the blood had been sucked out of the poor man.
I remember as a young man writing letters (pen, stationery, trip to PO) and being so touched when some big cheeze like Sidney Poitier or the governor would actually write me back, even though obviously a kid could offer nothing but taking up their time. Gone are those days. I would say that of the personal letters I now write to people whom I don't know perhaps 20% respond at all, even to say "buzz off". I'm sure that emails get lost much more often than letters, but still, this is what bugs me about the direction of modern culture: a vanishing before our eyes of the human element. What if one day we call and NO ONE answers? That's my concern.