As the world begins to recover from what many perceive to have been the “year from hell,” many people are wondering just what the recovery will look like. Without a doubt, 2020 will be known in history as one of the most horrific years ever. Will things as simple as human interaction be a distant memory? Will the dollar bill be a thing of the past? Will people even want to take their masks off when the time comes? Will face-to-face events go back to being the norm?
Covid has ushered in an era of awareness, an era of cleanliness. It will be hard to return to people being sick and still going to work anyway, not washing your hands before every meal and just when you come in the house from outside. People prefer the way things are now and many wonder why it hasn’t always been like this. This begs the question, “Will people miss the old way of life?”
With the emergence of new technology like Telemedicine, Remote Learning and digital, contactless payments, it’s hard to imagine returning to the way we lived only a year ago. Personally, I like that technology has adapted with us during Covid times. My Apple Watch counts to 20 with me as a wash my hands, the emergence of online shopping lets me get my groceries delivered instead of me having to go outside, contactless payments allow me to simply use my phone to board transit or make a purchase in a store instead of having to swipe my card and touch the pin pad or even touching paper money. According to digital commerce 360, “consumers spent $861.02 billion online in the U.S. in 2020, a 44.0% jump compared with 2019. That’s the highest annual U.S. e-commerce growth in at least two decades.” The impact of the coronavirus has caused a “seismic” shift in retail. The pandemic has transformed eCommerce forever.
It’s safe to say we are in a new digital age, an age where most things are available online. There’s virtually no reason to leave the house, aside from emergency reasons, and risk catching Covid and exposing others to it. Even for social reasons, there are platforms created to socialize with friends and family like Google Meet and Zoom. You can join a yoga class or meditation circle on zoom. Streaming sites like Disney+ and Hulu have added new features that allow their patrons to share streams with people who do not reside in the same household as them. These features make spending time with loved ones feel normal again.
On the contrary, there are some indelible things that technology can’t replace like jobs that require skill and learning rather than robotic technique. One of the main industries that have been impacted the hardest is the food industry, more specifically local restaurants. So if in the future we live in a society where technology rules, we would have to sacrifice things like freshly made pizza at our neighborhood pizzeria, which would ultimately leave hundreds of thousands of people out of business and out of jobs.
In the end, no one truly knows what the future holds, be that as it may, it’s safe to assume society will be technology-driven. Although there are some things that humans ultimately will always be better at, I don’t think that post-pandemic many people will want to abandon the newfound tools that have improved their quality of life. The new normal will be one filled with telecommunications, machinery, and avant-garde approaches to containing Covid.