How COVID-19 has changed the way we view technology

Lock-down, quarantine, self-isolation and social distancing are now common words being used in our daily life as the virus continues to hold the nation and the world at a standstill. If we are to speculate how this virus has impacted our society, we must look backwards into history to understand how we got here in the first place.

Whenever we look at the history of plagues and pandemics, a common thread begins to emerge. Society underwent a monumental shift in its culture and value system that has led to either the collapse of an empire, to giving rise of capitalism, brought forth the enlightenment and even transformed Rome from a pagan city to a Christian dominant city in a short space of time. These changes forced people to question things that they otherwise would not have, and this virus has certainly given us more questions than answers.

What this virus has shown us is just how vulnerable and outdated our economy really is and the draconian measures the government is willing to take in order to save lives and keep societal order. There are however internal disagreements between medical experts and economists as to how far the lockdown should go, with economists arguing that an economic downfall will have a more adverse effect on peoples lives than the virus itself.

Despite these measures, humans are incredibly adaptable and have taken advantage of technology to continue life as ‘normal’ as possible. Technology has enabled people to still maintain contact with their friends and family, as well as giving some people the ability to continue conducting business as ‘usual’. It is through this appreciation that people begin to look at technology’s future protentional and how it can be a benefit to us. Although the appreciation has always been there, instead, what has changed is the ethics and philosophy that come with exploring technology’s purpose.

An example of this is the way we view Augmented and mixed reality, which will now be viewed with the virus in mind. Could this technology create a space where humans can interact with each other in much the same way we do in our usual everyday life? If another lockdown were to be put into place in the future because of new viruses or disease, will it be indistinguishable to the lock down we are currently going through? Will the economic panic be much less impacted?

The division between humans and technology are expected to blend and will become more of an extension of us. In the same way make up is used to enhance specific facial features, technology will serve to enhance us through the good, the bad and the ugly. Some experts say there will be two different kinds of economy, the economy of the virtual world and the economy of the real world. These two worlds will meet and serve each other and mitigate the impacts caused by external crisis, like the coronavirus.