9 Future Predictions for a Post-Coronavirus World

The ripple effect of COVID-19 is spreading around the world, causing humankind to invent and transform the way they live and work. One of the benefits to where we are right now is that corporations and individuals will be more resilient in a post COVID-19 world. These are nine predictions about what the world will look like after we have ended the pandemic.


1. More Interactions and Contactless Interfaces

Not too long ago, touch screens were all the rage and we were blown away by their capabilities. COVID-19 has made us all hyper-aware about any touchable surfaces that could transmit the disease. In a post-COVID-19 world it is expected that there will be fewer touch screens, more voice interfaces, and more machine vision interfaces. Before the pandemic, mobile phones were able to accept contactless payments. With people trying to control what they touch, a way to pay for goods or services without physical contact is likely gain popularity. Machine vision interfaces can be used to apply social media filters, and allow for autonomous checkout in some stores. To limit physical contact, expect to see an increase in voice and machine vision interfaces that recognize faces or gestures across multiple industries.


2. Digital Infrastructure Strengthened

COVID-19 enabled people to adjust to working remotely and in isolation. It forced us all to work together to find digital solutions that would allow us to continue lessons, meetings, and other activities while we were still living in our homes. It was not always necessary to travel to another country for meetings. I learned that video calls can be used for any type of meeting (yes, even board meetings). Thanks to our social distancing requirements and my daughter’s first piano lesson, it went very well.


3. IoT and Big Data can be used to improve monitoring

In real-time, we see the power and potential of data to help us monitor a pandemic. This experience will help us monitor future pandemics using big data and internet of things technology. Apps that are both national and global could help to improve early warning systems by allowing for the tracking of who is showing symptoms. The GPS data could be used to track who has been exposed and with whom to spread the virus. All of these measures require careful implementation to protect individuals’ privacy and prevent abuse of data. However, they offer great benefits for future pandemic monitoring and management.


4. AI-enabled drug development

We can develop and deploy a safe and effective drug to treat COVID-19 and other viruses faster than we can. Because it can complement and accelerate human efforts, artificial intelligence is a great partner in drug development. Future efforts to use AI in drug development will be informed by our current reality.


5. Telemedicine

Did you receive emails from your healthcare providers announcing that they are available for telemedicine and virtual consultations? Many healthcare professionals are reminding patients and implementing telemedicine to reduce traffic in hospitals and clinics. Remote care allows patients to receive services remotely, rather than having to rush to the doctor’s office or hospital. Although some healthcare professionals had tried remote care before COVID-19 was passed, the demand has grown now that social distancing in many areas is mandatory.


6. Shop Online More

Many businesses believed they were already masters of online shopping. However, COVID-19 taxed them like no other as most online shopping was done online. Online shopping was a risk for many businesses. Those who did have the ability to offer online services were forced to close their doors. Businesses that want to stay competitive after COVID-19 will find ways to offer online services, even if they have a physical location. There will also be improvements to logistics and delivery systems to handle surges in demand, whether it’s due to shopper preference, or future pandemics.


7. Robots are gaining more trust

Robots are immune to viruses. Robots can be used to deliver groceries, take vitals in the healthcare system, or keep a factory afloat. Companies realize that robots are a valuable tool for today’s society and could play a crucial role in a post COVID-19 world.


8. More digital events

Participants and organizers of in-person events who were forced to move to digital realize that there are pros and con to both. For example, I take part in technology discussions in the Houses of Parliament in London. The debate on AI in education, which took place this week, was held as a virtual event. It went well and attracted more people. The event was not as crowded as an in-person one, and there were many people logging on from around the globe. Although I don’t think in-person events will disappear completely after COVID-19 I believe that event organizers will find ways to make digital events work alongside in-person events. Hybrid events will see a rise in hybrid events, where some parts are held in person and others are delivered electronically.


9. Esports are on the rise

Fans, sports organizations and fans have had the tough task of dealing with their beloved past-times being cancelled or put on hold due to COVID-19. Esports are growing. Even though F1 car racing is not broadcast on television in the same way as traditional Formula 1 racing it offers a new outlet for fans. Esporting events can be easily accessed online, unlike mainstream sporting events. Similar to events, hybrid sports coverage will be more common where digital and physical offerings are added.

COVID-19 may be a challenge to our patience and systems, but it is also strengthening our resilience and allowing for us to find innovative solutions out of necessity. I believe that in a post-COVID-19 future, we will learn from our experience with the virus and create a better world. What are your hopes for the future?

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Bernard Marr’s book Tech Trends In Practice: The 25 Technologies Driving the Fourth Industrial Revolution provides more information on technology trends.

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