The Pandemic Encouraged the Digital and Virtual Revolution

Natasha Fertig ’22

    Let me put things into perspective: Adults around the age of 50 were born into a technology-free world while current high school seniors were born into an era of Blackberries and heavy, unportable desktops. Over the past 17 years, technology has developed at an exponential rate. Old screenless iPods eventually became iPhones with facial recognition. Facebook, which was created in 2004, the same birth year as most current seniors in high school, is now the most popular social media app with over 2.7 billion users. When looking at the changes that have occurred in the technology field since 2004, it is predicted that the landscape of business will evolve from being internet-savvy to internet-dependent. The world of business will be entirely digital and virtual.

    Whether this is the result of the conversion from physical cash to cryptocurrency as bitcoin’s value hits 55,000 USD, or as non-fungible tokens for art, collectibles, musicians, and athletes become more popular. As observed in the unprecedented event of COVID-19, the next ten years will be the start of a digital and virtual revolution, marking the transition from traditional employment and jobs to forward-thinking and modernized business concepts. 

    When COVID-19 hit in March of 2020, almost all in-person interactions, including jobs, school, and other appointments were forced to become virtual. Zoom and Google Hangout became the new form of communication. A sick day from school turned into a Zoom call from bed, an inopportune doctor checkup became a telehealth appointment, and walkthroughs in a museum became a mere scroll on a website. The pandemic kickstarted this virtual revolution as it revealed many advantages of a completely virtual world. Initially, all non-essential tasks were virtual, but nowadays, society is transitioning to a hybrid system. This hybrid system will serve us in the future because it will allow for more flexibility and creativity in the field of business, thus catalyzing the advancement of new ideas and technology. However, one of the greatest challenges posed by the pandemic is the lack of human interaction and its effects on one’s ability to learn and improve without in-person mentorship and a sense of camaraderie.

    Finding a solution to this issue is inevitable. Especially in the face of this pandemic. There is a formula simply waiting to be found that would create a hybrid plan, effectively preventing challenges such as a lack of socialization and the difficulties of online learning. With Generation Z’s advantage of being raised in a technology-reliant world, they can see the beneficial and disadvantageous aspects of technology. Taking advantage of the crutch handed down by previous generations, the younger generation may offer a smooth transition to this new era. Figuring out where technology benefits our society and fuels our economy is essential. So, how do we advocate for the digital world and the change to cryptocurrencies? And, how do we juxtapose that by pushing for a virtual, hybrid system, while keeping the loved values of a technology-free world?

    Note from the editor: If you’d like to learn more about non-fungible tokens for art (NFTs), Wakaba Aihara ’22 wrote a more in-depth article on it last year that can be accessed here.