We’re all crossing our fingers for the rapid introduction of a vaccine that could signal the end of the coronavirus crisis and the beginning of a return to normality. However, it’s starting to look like the world might never be the same again after the pandemic is over.
This global health crisis has forced us all to find new ways to keep the world turning while we practise social distancing – and the most effective solutions involved technology. Productivity is up, costs are down and we have more time on our hands than ever before. It wouldn’t be so far-fetched for society to keep some of the innovations that have supported us through this desperate time and embrace the new abnormal.
Here’s what the not-so-distant future could look like based on technology news.
Earlier this year, two Chinese telecommunication companies pioneered a 5G-enabled system that allowed remote consultations and diagnoses of the coronavirus. This was one of the ways the Chinese government was able to control the spread of the virus – 5G connectivity is lightning fast, easy on hardware and infrastructure and cost-effective. It’s entirely conceivable for the medical industry to keep leveraging 5G in future for specialised consultations, diagnoses and even treatment.
The school year has been heavily disrupted by social distancing. Some schools and institutions are on pause while others have been able to continue through online distance learning. We don’t expect the world to completely turn away from in-person teaching in the future because it is still the most effective form of education – but we can learn a thing or two from online classes. It is an amazing resource for one-on-one tutoring, special needs education and to reach students in remote locations. Perhaps in the future, it will become a necessary supplement to in-person teaching to maximise learner performance.
Working from home has highlighted some important insights for business leaders. Firstly, employees don’t need to be watched to be productive. Secondly, overhead costs like electricity, internet connectivity and even tea and coffee supplies can be dramatically reduced by instituting remote working policies. Most importantly, an overwhelming majority of employees prefer it. With technology providing everything that businesses need to keep going, it’s safe to say that remote teams will become the future of work.
AI and disinformation
Fake news has been around long before the pandemic, but it has proved to be an urgent issue during this crisis. This has prompted tech companies such as Google, Facebook and Twitter to accelerate their anti-disinformation initiatives and to lean on artificial intelligence as a key weapon. As deep fakes become more sophisticated and the line between fact and fiction becomes increasingly blurred, we will rely less on our powers of discernment and more on AI to spot disinformation online. If tech industry leaders continue to work together after the pandemic, we might see an end to what has been called a post-truth era.
Estimates from PredictHQ show that cancelled tech conferences around the world will lead to an economic loss of more than $1 billion this year. But the good news is that some conferences have chosen to proceed as (relatively) normal online. Similarly, the world of live music events has been rocked by the pandemic and Instagram concerts have become sold-out affairs. This could inspire event organisers to find new ways to monetise online experiences and open up a gap in the market for people staying at home (whether they have to or not) to “fill the seats” of online events.
If you found what we extrapolated from technology news intriguing, there’s more where that came from. Download our guide to the biggest trends shaping consumer tech.