Covid-19 & Restart
“Most human beings have an almost infinite capacity for taking things for granted.”
― Aldous Huxley
The year 2020 will live on as the year when we realized the existence of this capacity to take things for granted and when we learnt the limits of the human species. We learnt that nature can chose to test the adaptive skills of the species in anyway possible. The response to the new Pandemic by the world is nothing short of spectacular albeit not being without flaws. We deployed a variety of arsenal in our quivers to fight this new test of our resilience and along with our honoured health-care workers, technology showed the world the new skills needed to survive.
The test is not only for the survival of the species bit also to ensure that , in our quest for the sedentary and luxury , we have not lost the edge of adaptation needed for survival. ‘ Survival of the Fittest ‘ is the term which defines not just that the fittest among us survive but the not so fit are also enabled with the help of technology to survive.
The biggest change brought on by the pandemic ( which is still very potent ! ) is the way the ‘New office’ culture has evolved. Working from home is not a dirty excuse heard with a tinge of suspicion by your managers. It is the way of life. The entire technology industry rejigged itself to ensure the successful implementation of the WFH for its employees in a short span of time. Every corporate company has a neat story on this to tell. The successes and failures , the employees who lead the way, the technology that fine-tuned itself to the new , brave world – the stories are endless. The important thing to remember is that we were at the point of a technological revolution which enabled us to adapt in a million ways the new, redefined world.
The vaccine is in place now. All of us learnt the words efficacy , efficiency , the different phases of clinical trials and a whole bunch of pharma companies which became known better than any other consumer brands. The expectation is that the multitude of vaccines will help in recovering some sense of normalcy with life in another 6-12 months. The restart of life is already happening.
However, the truth is that the life that existed before March 2020 is no more a possibility. While we will get back to some of those elements of life as it existed before, the innocence of a ‘pre-pandemic’ life exists no more. We are all sullied by Covid-19 in one way or another. The post-pandemic world is going to be a more technologically enabled world – which will help in ‘reducing’ human touch-points , enable a more robust work life in terms of remote and in-office working , new norms of existence in terms of vaccination certificates and ‘clean’ spaces for gathering etc.
All this and more is going to be made possible by technology. Live streaming of functions and video conference calls are all the norm today. Banking , Insurance and many more businesses have moved towards a more ‘digital’ experience than a in-person experience. Sales conferences , seminars and many more events have moved online – cutting down huge costs for corporations. Delivery apps , tele medicines , schools in zoom calls , remote consulting have become new buzz words. Technology will enable seamless , no-human-touch experiences more and more.
We will not get into the moral or the social aspect of it at all. What is going to be interesting for us – the technology enthusiasts is the endless opportunities this will offer for innovation on a scale never seen before. We will see the emerging technologies such as Blockchain used for more and more in track and trace use cases for food and medical supplies in a world where people will need assurance on where they are getting their stuff. AI will be involved in diagnosing and predicting outbreaks , more AR/VR to enable virtual trainings for complex machinery and other areas where a 2-D training is not going to be helpful.
We started with a Huxley quote and will end with another from that brilliant writer. The overcompensation of this ( in a way , self-) inflicted misery by the new world is going to make any actual happiness look squalid.