As has been said many times, the COVID-19 pandemic is rapidly accelerating transitions that were already in motion to begin with. A lot of these transitions were inevitable, and they had strong momentum prior to the coronavirus shut down. The trend of moving to a more digital world is first and foremost. Working remotely, whether that’s at home or just away from a brick-and-mortar location, is a trend that’s been in the works for awhile already.
It’s been so prevalent that we even saw the rise of We Work in response. Now, in this era of social distancing and business closures, the cost reductions that follow could lead to the end of many brick-and-mortar sites. From 2021 on, you could see more sectors go digital only, where all work is done remotely. That means we’ll all need to have more functionality on our devices, as our whole individualized worlds become concentrated online.
A broader business trend right now sees companies ramping up concentration and integration on one cloud based solutions. These firms then partner with restaurants and food delivery services like Foodora, Door Dash, Uber Eats and Grub Hub. It’s a win-win-win proposition as companies increase cohesion and efficiency, workers have more convenience, and restaurants have a way to keep business going during this era of forced limited capacity. E-commerce will continue to be one of the overall winners, the longer this pandemic continues.
These days you can get almost anything delivered to your home by ordering online, and you can acquire knowledge on just about everything under the sun via webinars and demo videos. Everyday life has become so virtual and digital that we’ve already had a very well known acronym IRL (In Real Life) in our lexicon for many years already. The fact that this acronym exists tells you everything you need to know. All this integration, concentration and convenience comes with a price of course.
The growth of the stay-at-home economy naturally breeds isolation, and that’s very adverse as man is a social animal. Being overly reliant on tech communications, i.e. playing around on your smartphone all the time, erodes social skills. We all have a need for a sense of belonging with our fellow human beings, and social media really doesn’t cut it, because “likes” are not a real currency.
Tech innovation is happening faster and faster these days, further verifying Moore’s Law (perception that we can expect the speed and capability of our computers to increase every couple of years, and we will pay less for them), but it also means we all have to adapt on the fly.
That’s because Moore’s Law is also combining with Metcalf’s Law, which states that the value of a network is proportional to the square of the number of connected users. These two laws are working together to create a perfect storm in which our computer interconnectedness ramps up, while our in real life, human contact interconnectedness rapidly dissipates.
We’re transitioning more and more of what we do online. It’s a monumental shift that we as humans were just evolved enough to handle properly right now. Not having a point B to go from point A (home) everyday is problematic. Lack of consistent, genuine interaction with other humans, in a non-transactional manner, creates all sorts of problems. This was an issue for many before coronavirus turned our entire world upside down, and now it’s just getting exacerbated. It’s great to be able to do more tasks with greater speed and efficiency, but it also makes us more atomized.
And this has several severe adverse effects, including a correlation to a rise in numerous social ills. On a more macro level, we’ve also seen a disturbing rise when it comes to membership in groups that believe in fringe, extremist ideas and ideologies. These groups are, or at least were, on the fringes for a reason- it’s where their beliefs belong.
However, these days, more and more Americans are feeling a void, a need for a sense of belonging, and for some they have low standards of what that group is they can belong to. For many, work used to provide that, if they were in the kind of office or factory where they liked their co-workers. Now, with more work being done away from one’s teams, a whole new set of problems is arising.
Eventually, it could get to the point where someone will hopefully innovate a solution to these serious issues.
Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net, which is partnered with News Now. Banks, the author of “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry,” regularly contributes to WGN TV, Sports Illustrated, Chicago Now and SB Nation.
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Filed under: Current Events