Editorial #164 The New Normal
People never change unless the pain of not changing becomes unbearable. Measures taken in addressing this pandemic has forced changes that were destined to occur. Normally, drastic changes take years to be accepted. Computers never did not make us smarter, it just raised the level of mediocrity in the work place.
Technology allowed us to be locationally independent. There is no need to be “there” anymore. People will no longer need to go someplace to work. We can accomplish almost anything, anywhere at any time with devices as small as our cell phone. The marvels of technology has also given us “Big Brother” which we first heard about in Orwell’s book “1984”. Even in the 1950’s, it was seen as scary, impossible and the ultimate invasion of privacy. Technology has become a double edged sword that brings good things to life, but also brought the “Big Brother” we detest, when government and businesses use technology to control us. This is the trade-off for making life more efficient, easier and controllable.
Virtual meetings have evolved into constant surveillance in any public space. Facial recognition, for securing access to devices, lead to instant identification any time a camera sees our face. GPS for navigation lead to constant tracking of where we go. Popup ads showing things we may like, lead to target marketing by mining data about our tastes, value systems and political leanings for advertising and campaign purposes. On line shopping eliminates the need for retail stores giving more data to mine. Electronic banking used to control our assets evolved into hacking capabilities to steal money.
If working at home still gets “the job done” the employer will not need to provide office space at a cost equal to the salary of the individual sitting in that space. They will pay the employee a little more to work at home, if it eliminates the need to rent office space.
Business travel will no longer be necessary as the virtual meetings will communicate action items with no need for personal contact. Working in systems with standard procedures is the new normal compared to the old “Baby Sitting” model of management where employees are being told what to do by giving tasks instead of objectives that are measurable, time tested and evolved logically.
Medical procedures ranging from physicals to operations can be done remotely with lab tests able to diagnose the pathology of any problem using the data base of all previous diagnoses throughout the world with similar symptoms.
Public education is costing over $15,000 per year per student or $7.50per hour. The virtual class room can conduct classes remotely at a fraction of the cost. The need to provide class space would no longer be required. On line instructors, like Kahn Academy, can teach millions of students. The cost of education is high because of the infrastructure and administration. This money could be used to incentivize parents to be better parents and proctor students at home for less than $7.50/hr. instead of having a job outside of the home.
Government office buildings for vehicle registration, register of deeds and taxes will no longer be necessary. Only the court system would be require a building with law enforcement administrating functions where clerical functions are replaced.
This paradigm shift, resulting from social distancing, is the “alpha test” of where society is destined to go. It is surprising how this world war, where everyone is on the same side, has ambushed our country so quickly, forcing changes that were unimaginable but inevitable.
This is Keith Kube wishing you the best in making the world a better place.
Bumper: Keith has a regular commentary on WJAG 780 radio at 7:40 on Tuesday and Thursday mornings. Check his website www.keithkube.com for past editorials.