Unprecedented? Not really, to give historic global outbreaks if not Bill Gates’s 2015 TED Talk their due. The new normal, however close you are to decamping into the woods to never hear those words again, yes. Things aren’t going to be the same. This new way of living is less about new trends sidling in, however, and more about an acceleration of pre-existing behaviours.
Large-scale mass experiments have shown us what’s possible. Homeworking was growing before, but now it’s a daily reality that’s here to stay after the crisis abates. Sustainability wasn’t going anywhere, but now we’ve seen the real-life benefits of major reductions in transport and travel. Noise pollution is no longer a given. And, today, holograms and holoportation are steps away from being part of our everyday lives; tech firm Ultraleap speculates that, with only 9% of the UK believing public touchscreens are hygienic, we are reaching the end of the touchscreen era – finally moving instead towards touchless gesture-based interfaces.
Crisis necessitates radical change and while levels of productivity are strong thus far, how long will we be able to keep up the pace? The pressure for long-term solutions will only increase as lockdown continues.