The year 2020 will be much talked about in the history books. And it will stand out in the memory of all of those who lived through it. The year of the worldwide health emergency – the year of the so-called Covid-19 or Coronavirus – is the year that revolutionized the way the entire world functions. It is the year we were forced to stay locked in our homes, to go out only in case of necessity, that took some of our loved ones from us or distanced us from them, and that pushed our healthcare systems, the economy, our jobs and relationships to the limit.
In motivational speeches, it is usual to talk about the concept represented by the Japanese ideogram, the Wēijī. Even some people considers it a fallacy, the thought of Wēijī is perfectly suited to the above-mentioned historical period that we could end up "in crisis" and from which we could still take "opportunities". Let's see together if even in the case of the Coronavirus it is possible to seize an opportunity, a moment of growth and collective improvement.
Digital Solidarity: When Technology Helps Us Live Better in the Days of the Coronavirus
The Coronavirus has brought back the potential of technological and digital innovation. In these days of the pandemic, new technologies have been providential in helping to deal with this difficult situation and in cushioning the psychological impact of isolation that the Covid-19 would have had on all those people who were used to living with a different lifestyle and relationships before the lockdown. Here are some examples:
The importance of artificial intelligence : the improperly called Artificial Intelligence, i.e. the computerized handling of big data, has proved to be an additional weapon in the research and constant fight against the coronavirus. Every day research centres around the world use it to work toward a possible vaccine against the disease by making notable contributions, as was reported in an article by Toward Data Science.
The reduction of distances : Covid-19 has forced many families, loved ones, and people to remain physically distant in order to safeguard each other from this virus and, above all, to keep everyone safe from an at-times fatal contagion. The new media have helped to break down interpersonal space by bringing people together via video calls, helping many people feel less lonely during the lockdown period.
The revenge of smart working : as stated in a recent article in the Italian economic newspaper Il Sole 24 ore: "For the first time, with the Covid-19 emergency smart working has suddenly become a necessity and a priority to protect people's health, work, and services. From today to tomorrow, companies and public administrations have been asked to make this transformation, when, just a few weeks earlier, agile work was part of a broader process of digitization of work that was proceeding at a slower pace." The concept of telework has been part of the culture and vocabulary of international companies for more than four years now. Nevertheless, it has been little considered or applied by companies in recent years – up until today. In an interesting article, the Level OfficeLandscape analyzes the percentage numbers of companies in a country with a difficult working situation like Italy. It’s a bit disappointing if we take into account the statistics published in 2017 by Great Place To Work , which shows Italy among the slowest in Europe compared to other European cities or the U.S. with a trend of over 37% and growing in the last three years. What are the reasons against smart working? Ignorance? Poor organization? Control mania? Fear? Whatever the answer, at a certain point, with the advent of the Coronavirus, the institute of smart working – better defined as telework – has been the lifeline for many companies and many workers who have managed to stay afloat in an unstable economic market in crisis and at the same time not lose their jobs.
Ecommerce and e-banking : the ability to make purchases and perform all banking transactions from your laptop or smartphone has certainly helped people to not gather in larges masses in shops, at the post office, at the bank or businesses that sell essential and non-essential goods. A surprisingly important aspect of ecommerce during this time has been home deliveries – and online shopping – which has helped people to reduce the amount of times they have to leave their homes even for essential goods. They’re able to stay home, keep their fridges full, and have a good meal at the end of the day brought to them thanks to a store or restaurant that has continued to deliver at home.
"I wonder what the post-coronavirus world will be like" is one of the thoughts that plagues everyone these days. Among the many articles or multimedia materials that we can find online that discuss what may happen, there are particular analyses carried out by eMarketers, which hypothesize about a world that has become totally distorted from the world that we once knew. This is a crisis that we could describe as being dark with just a glimmer of light shining through, representing the breakthrough of technology. The post-covid world will be a completely digital world where initially we will keep our distance from the people who will be brought together by the digital world. According to eMarketer research, we can define two macro categories of those who will have to begin again that are called "Telehealth" and "Teleconferencing." The first category refers to the healthcare world that sees the physical location of the hospital and the relationship between doctor and patient, where possible, digitalized and the nation's hospitals interconnected. The second, instead, refers to the work setting, which will be quite changed. Agile work will be the first to take root in innovation, and an increase in digital transformation strategies is expected within the companies: telework projects and strategies will increase.
"Nothing is created, nothing is destroyed, everything is transformed," it is with this phrase that, in physics, Antoine-Laurent de Lavoisier coined the so-called law of conservation of matter in chemical reactions, and that of the philosophical precedents in Aristotle and Democritus, and this is the phrase that, surely, synthesizes the year 2020. The coronavirus has certainly opened a global wound and, like with any wound, it will take time for it to heal. The world will change, we will change, and we will have to make changes and transform ourselves in order to prepare and create, together, what will be the present and the future of our society.