A Thought:Where Society Might Go After The Coronavirus
With these trying times, I have been asked about where do I think society as a whole is going and with all these companies changing their ways and workers adjusting. I have been asked what happens after all this virus is over? What will happen to society as a whole. Well here are a few ideas I have of where it could all lead.
With consumers, I see the way they buy, shop and sell things changing. I think a lot of consumers will shift to a more online shopping focus. Apps with augmented reality will take off because the idea of shopping in store might not happen anymore. Instead, it will shift to home shopping because with the use of a phone you will be able to see how the product is in your home. I think smaller grocery stores will switch from in store to only be online delivery and pick up.
The giant warehouse stores will probably become smaller because of the shift from in person to buying online and just picking up at the store with curbside. I have done pick up in store, but I find curb side to be way quicker and easier.
In doing my research, I found a few articles about the mass move from offline to online shopping. According to GeekWire, a huge number of people were searching for online shopping and downloading store apps that support pick up or delivery. Also, we see a number of food delivery apps move to contact less delivery. I think in doing this type of digital push we will see ecommerce boom and different types of online stores opening up in the future.
For the Workers
I think in the very near future we will see a massive shift of “essential” workers asking for more rights and for more pay. The reason for this is due to the fact that a lot of them make near minimum wage. They have been put into a tough place because they can get sick and infect their families or on the other hand, they can’t pay for anything. We have learned that many American workers live paycheck to paycheck. According to Forbes, missing just 1 paycheck puts most workers in a very dangerous situation and having to work without protection is going to have a profound effect on the workforce.
According to NPR we have seen record number of people applying for unemployment and we continue to see massive layoffs happening. I expect when all of this is over we will hear stories about corporations who looked out for their workers…and those that didn’t.
For the Corporations
I think in the future, corporations will be switching to be remote focused because this could lead to ways of saving money by getting rid of office space and not needing their workers to be on site 24/7. I also believe that in moving forward corporations are going to be held to a new ethical standard, from preparedness to how they treat their workers during times of crisis. We have seen quite a number of companies recently unable to manage a month of closures, so they get ready for filing bankruptcies and firing half their workforce. This could very well become a new question that new hires ask companies in the future, “How prepared is this company for a catastrophe and how long can it stay afloat if a massive event happens?”. I think companies that use a lot of their profits to inflate stock prices and that don’t value their workers in times of crises will lose their standing within the corporate world and people aren’t going to want to work for them.
In a few articles that I have read recently, I have been reading that companies that do stock buy backs aren’t on solid ground if there is a turbulence in the market. In reading Bloomberg and the Wall Street Journal, I think stock buy backs are a short term gain and not a long term win. I think companies that use some of their money for it won’t be as chastised as companies that use 90% of their income to fund their buy backs.
Growing up, I always had issues with learning in a classroom setting. I found myself able to learn more on my own at my own self pace. I predict that with a lot of parents doing home school or doing learning online that this is going to suddenly take off like a rocket. A few of my friends have told me their children seem to be learning better with online learning. Maybe in the future we will see classrooms go more online for children, or maybe even having classrooms dedicated to self-paced self-learning. Our way of teaching has been the same way forever, put 30 children in a classroom and teach everyone the same. This hasn’t been working, and maybe this at home learning could very well be a starting point for schools adopting different ways of teaching. I also know that when in a public school, asking questions always came with the stigma of appearing dumb. With a more online setting or being able to ask the parents for help with something lifts the veil on what the student might not know. It will also help students too scared to ask questions in front of a crowd so that they aren’t left behind because of it.
The reason why I think schools might take up the self-paced online learning is due to the fact I taught at a code school, and a lot of my students were self-taught. They wanted to learn something; they went after it. Some of the greatest developers I know, never stepped foot in a computer science course. It was just them picking up a book or taking an online course and just going after it. This could very well be the future, imagine your car breaks down and you can’t take your child to school, or having to wait for a bus, you just wake up and your kid is in school. Now I do know the social aspect is still needed. Maybe that’s what half days will be for. Half online, half in school for band, choir, art, and the other courses.
Now this research might sound a little jaded, but I have taken a few online courses, from Stanford’s learning courses, to courses on Udemy, and even through my apps like Duolingo and I find myself learning more without the distractions. But according to GeekWire schools will be cautious in adopting these new methods because they have to be monitored, but if you think about it, we changed our entire system in literally a few weeks. Therefore, we shall see how this plays out in the long run.
Now this is where its going to get political. I think with the fact that a lot of government systems are stressed to the max, and that the government is looking for a number of COBAL developers which are hard to come by, I think we will expect our members of congress to embrace the cloud and to understand technology. Remember that video of the congressman that didn’t understand that Google didn’t make the iphone? I think we will expect our elected officials to understand technology, and this could also become a campaign issue. We will probably be expecting a whole lot more from our leaders, like which leaders are doing teleconferencing town halls.
In the past few weeks, with the massive unemployment, I have seen a number of articles pop up asking for COBAL developers. Which is a 60-year-old programming language for those of you who don’t know. Now I could see a calling for developers to come and help build up government systems since it’s not the programming language holding it back but the number of servers. This could very well lead to a government update kind of like the dot-com craze of the early 2000’s.
I also agree with this Politico article about how the government will go more virtual. I think with this push for online we could very well see a push for our leaders to have more virtual town halls because I know some representatives do not visit their districts. However, I expect more and more politicians in the future will be more like the newly elected officials who live stream constantly. I suspect this will become the new norm because its them working / living and just answering questions on the fly from their voters.
For Being Greener
In the past few months, I recently bought some automation outlets for our technology due to that vampire power a lot of electronics use during the night. So when we go to sleep we are still pulling a vast amount of power. Well with buying these new outlets we were able to cut down our power usage by 60%. Even with us being home all the time. Now could we see a vast shift to greener based technology because we must find ways to cut down on our power consumption? We just might.
But it would not just be power, but also even our food consumption might change. I have been reading a few news articles about how plant based meat products are starting to take off due to the meat packing industry being hit hard by the virus. With someone like me
According to The Washington Times the plant based meat alternatives are finding new ground and acceptance. This comes on the fact that some grocery stores has even started to impose limits on amount of meat people can purchase. With the fact that some of the plant based alternatives taste the same, I think we could very well see a plant based boom happen.
With the fact that everyone is staying home, and soon to be working remote, we are seeing a vast decrease in greenhouse gas emissions and according to TIME this could lead to a carbon free economy. Also with investing in some home power automation, those power switches we bought were around 40 bucks each, and since we have cut our power bill down by 60%, these power switches have essentially paid for themselves. So we as a society could invest further.
I only know one truth, the future is always changing, and it is what we make it. We can’t be afraid of change, but we must adapt to an ever-changing world. This virus will definitely change the way we work, play and of course live. It will touch all aspects of our lives for years to come, and we will probably see a more online centric world on the other side. Industries will evolve as they have always been, from the internet, to telecoms, to globalization. All in all, I will see you all on the other side.