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Snippet: Has Pandemic Pushed Us Into a Post-Human Future? ☇

Shared on June 15, 2020

Om Malik:

There is very little room for humanness in transactions facilitated by the network. I wonder if the real cost of convenience is sacrificing the humaneness. Instead of the banter with the neighborhood corner shop, we get stuff delivered from Amazon. Most of our goods come via e-commerce platforms. We won’t have a favorite salesperson at our favorite department store — soon there won’t be any department stores left anyway.

We are addicted to convenience, nonetheless.

Today, I was thinking about our future post-pandemic reality. A contactless future is going to become obvious. With the retail and restaurant sectors struggling and shrinking, we will start seeing the places which make us part of a society, a neighborhood, humans begin to go away. A dry cleaner here, a coffee shop there. What will remain of society? It is easy to think of the local shop as a business, but in the end, their nearness, their familiar closeness, their physical proximity gives us landmarks that create context and give us bearing for our lives. They turn a building into a home, a neighborhood into a place that builds memories. All of these little services give us texture as humans. They are also a chance for us to come together, not separated by income, but as two parties that need each other.

This particular post really hit me hard yesterday—Malik isn’t necessarily cynical, just stating the reality of today, accelerated by the pandemic. While technology has facilitated amazing things at our fingertips, it feels like many people on the other side of what we want and need are being seen as transactional robots completing a task from your button-press. Everyone craves instant gratification, but I wonder what we’re losing out on even trivial social interactions.

Snippets are posts that share a linked item with a bit of commentary.