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:
- 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.