I keep hearing that things will return to normal in so many months and that x or y countries economy is restarting, do not be fooled it is all talk. Humanity needs to adapt to this crisis and the fallout that is coming as well as the inevitable fact that this is just one of many to come.
Furthermore, I do not think our governments or enterprises will make things happen; I think we are at an intersection in humanity’s advancement, where average Joe will be dictating the social changes. Our so-called leadership is far too disconnected from the grassroots to be able even to imagine some of the changes that I will be discussing in this series of posts. But I digress.
Let me begin with: “Let’s get real; things will never be the same, and that is good.”
A new normal is coming, it will be hard in the beginning, but we will come out of it better and stronger as unified humanity. You will notice I did not say “a unified society” because it would be near impossible. Besides, diversity is the cornerstone of any social evolution without it we would all be clones thinking the same way, content with our inevitable doom. We will come out of this changed for the better, the grassroots will be empowered, and the leadership system changed. The economics of the future will no longer relly on perceived monetary value but rather on the individual’s usefulness in their social environment and humanity as a whole; we already see this happen as this crisis evolves.
This crisis has brought a major realisation to the fore. There are those who are keeping humanity alive and moving forward. Yet others are there for our amusement, and not essential, except maybe for our moral wellbeing. Finally, there are the useless, easily replaced by artificial intelligence – a fair and more efficient contribution.
I will be writing about all of this and more, a currency-less world where skill and usefulness to society and humanity are rewarded, and crime punished very differently than in today’s system where the perpetrator has as many rights as the victim. If this sounds a little Gene Roddenberryeske, it kind of is. I will admit that he has been a large influence on my vision along with Carl Sagan, Isaac Asimov, Jule Verne, Arthur C. Clarke and many more visionaries and scientists.
I’d like to make a note about the present; our immediate concern must be the well being of those great many that were employed and active in our economies like those in industries that are collapsing in the short term, tourism is a good example. The good news is that there will be new industries that will rise, facemask manufacturing and, from current trends, facemask fashion. These are relatively easy to guess, as we can already see the evidence of this today.
But there is far more to it than meets the eye, we are living in a domino effect of staggering proportions, and none of the outcomes has even begun to show themselves, everything is speculation, including these writings.
Before I begin with my forecast of a better future for humanity, there is a premise that we need to remember, it is that social rules are made up of human constructs created by people’s imagination. And though a necessity for a stable society to function, these social laws are made by people and thus can be adapted to suit the current situation of humanity at any given time. In other words, our laws and social rules are not made of stone; they are malleable and need to remain that way for humanity to evolve.
Immediate social changes
There are many social changes that we have begun to make, all of them with lasting effects. I thought I’d start pointing out some today and discussing them in more details in future posts.
I will begin our journey into the unknown as you step out of your home and later come back to it, this will be the easiest to give you a glimpse of the domino effect we are living through, and it’s vast lasting impacts on our society. I will be making some assumption such as the viral threat is here to stay for the medium term, and there may be another virus threat coming at the same rate than last century or the current one will mutate sufficiently to still be a threat within the same period.
The most apparent social change is social distancing and the impacts it will have in our lives but also our current infrastructures and businesses.
Public transport is going to change dramatically, be it cruise ships, plane, trains or buses. There will be a substantial reduction in people movement. As a result, the public transport system will have to adapt to both the reduction of travellers and the risk control measures for the long term. Additionally, fewer people are going to travel to work as work from home policies will become commonplace; this will be discussed in later posts.
These changes will mean a fundamental change in the way humans travel; travelling will become something that requires necessity and no longer let’s just go to the mall or restaurant for entertainment. Because of this, retailers are going to adjust the way they trade, e-commerce will be the standard and brick, and mortar sizes will be reduced and replaced by delivery infrastructures, the warehousing market is about to boom.
Speaking of warehousing and deliveries, as human contact is reduced for fear of infection, these will be automated, causing a substantial reduction of employees thus less need for human transport.
Tourism in faraway lands will be reduced to a minimum for various reasons, from people not wanting to expose themselves in buses and aeroplanes to unpractical quarantines on arrival as the UK has already imposed.
Restaurants, cinemas, nightclubs, casinos and similar venues will also be affected as people will start avoiding crowds, they will need to adapt. I foresee that a lot of restaurants will change to online ordering and delivery. Cinemas and nightclubs will become exclusive or extinct, and online streaming will become the standard. As for casinos? They will move their operations, as many already have, online. These, to name a few significant changes, are coming to our society in the short term.
Education will also become different, homeschooling with online assistance will become commonplace, forcing telecommunication enterprises to roll out high-speed, stable and affordable internet to everyone. Technologies such as fibre and 5G are going to become cornerstones of our society and probably a human right rather than a commodity.
Familial clusters and small village life are going to start reemerging as smaller communities will be less vulnerable to health hazards, again impacting on other facets of our social and economic state of affairs.
Any activities not requiring a human presence in a location will be replaced by remote work. Only the professions that will be left “going to work” are those that require the human presence and cannot be done remotely or that can’t be replaced by a robotic workforce directed by artificial intelligence.
This is the tip of the iceberg, and if you think it sounds like a lot of jobs will become redundant as automation and artificial intelligence will be able to fill these jobs that require human capital today, you would be correct in your assumption. This trend is not new; it started with the industrial revolution in the late 1800s.
You may ask two questions at this point, one: you categorically state this was an optimistic view of the future? And how are these people going to survive in this future, will famine and poverty not be the order of the day?
And I’ll answer yes to both questions, and I promise to discuss all of this and that it is optimistic.
Unfortunately, things will need to get worse before they get better, this is the only way humanity will revolutionise its current social, economic and political systems.