Thank Goodness for Technology, but…

After we had our first videoconference call with a doctor today, it struck me how important a role technology has played in the pandemic.

Here is a list of tasks that I used to do in person and then in a blink of an eye they were all being done online:

  • teach
  • go to church
  • go grocery shopping
  • exercise class
  • attend graduation
  • doctor visit
  • get together with family and friends for a drink
  • live music performances

The big question is if and when these activities will go back to the “old way”.

I think I could handle it if teaching, going to church, grocery shopping, and doing an exercise class continued to be online.

But the others, not so much.

Villanova had a wonderful virtual commencement, but I missed the chance to say goodbye to the students and meet their families. There’s also something about sitting together with all the other faculty in our robes and celebrating such a milestone for the graduates.

My son had a virtual doctor visit today and it went quite well, but most times I want a doctor to be able to give a thorough exam, to look into my eyes and ears and throat, or to find specifically where something is paining me.

And as fun as a Zoom get-together can be, it’s nowhere near as enjoyable as just hanging out with friends and family in person and enjoying each other’s company.

Finally, I just watched parts of a live, local three-day music festival, that was streamed via YouTube, featuring multiple performers each day doing their sets from their homes. It was wonderful to watch, but it’s not the same as watching a musical artist in person, surrounded by other fans.

I don’t think technology can replace our basic desire for human connection – a handshake, a high five, a goodbye hug.

But I also think it’s clear that no matter what the future holds, technology will continue to play a key role in our lives.

39 thoughts on “Thank Goodness for Technology, but…

  1. Live is usually better, although I have been to a few overpopulated events and thought, “This would be better at home from the comfort of my living room.”

    Liked by 2 people

    1. sporting events I am happy to watch from home; but with concerts there is just something about being there. Now maybe if they started broadcasting those concerts live, in front of a big audience, It might create a different sensation.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. How were you able to have a virtual drink? hahaha… Yeah, probably more of a video chat session, right? But it’s still a shame when you can’t be physically present with friends and family to share a good meal and drinks. Well, this will hopefully pass.

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  3. I understand and fully accept the part that the virtual world plays, and will continue to play, in whatever our “new” normal will be. But, like you Jim, it cannot fully replace being in someone else’s presence. There is a connection between people who share the same space. It is tacit and tangible. We cannot lose the power of human touch. It will always be something we seek out and cling to when it’s found. Great post, Jim!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I also miss human contact but, as I’m unable to get to live sporting or musical events due to mobility issues, the online versions of music performances have meant that I’ve seen more live music in the past eight weeks than in the previous six years! I share your belief that there is nothing to compare to the live experience, but I hope that virtual music will still be available when this all ends. I’m pretty sure that tv sport will be wall to wall coverage again, though!

    Liked by 2 people

      1. They sure will! But empty stadiums will be the new norm for a while – at least it will give the pundits something to waffle about. Keeping my fingers crossed for JF and all those I’ve been enjoying online…

        Liked by 1 person

  5. You raise very good points about the benefits and limitations of technology. As time passes tech has more benefits and fewer limitations. I wonder if at some point virtual reality will compete with or surpass reality and personal contact. I can throw in a travel reference here. The remodeled KLM Lounge 52 at Amsterdam has Sensiks VR pods guests can use. The pods have the VR headsets but also add smell, temperature, wind and other sensory effects. It is a very life-like experience but certainly no match for reality yet. It might not be too long before tech is able to produce something like a Holideck from Star Trek The Next Generation.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. It is only a matter of time before technology becomes sophisticated enough to compete with reality. I remember one of the exercises from Philosophy 1 was prove you are not just a brain in a vat and “reality” is not an artificial creation. For better or worse, I doubt such advances will occur in our lifetimes.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. What a coincidence; someone just wrote a blog piece about that experiment a couple of weeks ago; I had never heard of it. I don’t think I would want to know if I’ve been sitting in a vat this whole time…


  6. I don’t think anything will remain the same. We still need doctors visits for sure, but certain ailments that require speaking with a doctor for an inquiiry or prescription, I think online would save everyone time. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh sure. Just look at the apparatus available for sale now. I had to order a blood pressure machine for my hub during this madness to monitor his pressure instead of the doctor! Madness!

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Introverts are eating this up. I miss the personal face to face interaction, but I am okay with being virtual in a lot of my life. I miss the hugs from my kids and grandkids. It’s not a total bust and being able to go outside in nature has helped my attitude a whole lot! Very nice post! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I am not enjoying this virtual world at all. I need the physical connection with people. I am also an action person and want to see and be at the real thing. I’m glad there are so many options to see concerts, etc. but I miss the reality! Somethings you just have to be able to do! A prime example is I love to swim laps but that’s out for now, haven’t found a good substitute yet either….bathtub certainly isn’t working!!! 🤔

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There is certainly a need for human contact. That’s too bad about your swimming. It reminds me of a Saturday Night Live clip of Jim Carrey being a lifeguard for a hot tub and Will Ferrell comes along to use the tub.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. While I am in the business of technology, I fear that one of the worst things that could come from this situation is that the world will realise that technology can replace a lot more than thought by some. I do hope that some people finally realise that technology is not the be-all and end-all, in fact it’s something that you should happily swap for the embrace or company of another human,

    Rob |

    Liked by 1 person

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