Now that the world has effectively shut down with no clear indication of when things will return to normal, I’ve started thinking about the world on the other side, in a post-COVID-19 world. I believe that our world has now changed irrevocably. I will try and summarize my thoughts over the next couple of paragraphs.
Firstly, the robot revolution at the fringes of our society will take over the mainstream. Until quite recently, most of the robot workforce has been in the manufacturing and retail industries, but now we’re going to start seeing them in services too. Hospitals and Hotels will be the first to embrace robots in a big way, but this will quickly spread across all services.
With this, the last bastion of well paying jobs for humans will take a massive hit. Universal Basic Income (or some equivalent) will finally start being taken seriously, and this will have huge implications for our political and social superstructure.
Even though the digital interactions in the social space have been increasing, this pandemic will ensure that it will hit the point of no return. As humans, we will become increasingly comfortable with the concept of isolation and prefer to communicate using only digital techniques. Augmented Reality will become mainstream and we’ll see it all around us.
It’s not just that the workplaces on the other side will be largely remote, but the nature of work itself will be fundamentally different. As humans, our role(s) will be limited to designing work forces and acting as the “last line of defense” in case of black swan events. Routine activities will be entirely automated.
Over the last 100,000 years, humanity has learned to adapt to a world dominated by scarcity, but how will we fare in one of overabundance?