Where Do We Go From Here? And, The World Handling of COVID-19

By Dillon Neibel
dneibel@lc.edu

Do you remember 9/11?
A question that will remain relevant for years to come.

Do you remember the COVID-19 Pandemic? Another question that will remain just as, if not more relevant for the years to come.

For anyone who lived through 9/11, you undoubtedly saw the world we live in change drastically. I myself was only in second grade at the time, but I remember that day quite well given my youth then. I also remember taking note how much the world changed over time as we worked to create a world more readily prepared and combative against terrorists. While I have many conflicting perceptions on how that has been handled, many of the changes were undoubtedly needed.

So, how will the world be changed once life begins returning to normal after this pandemic?

Unfortunately, as of right now, one great difference between now and then is the unity we had after the terrorist attacks. Now, we see a nation greatly divided in regard to the seriousness of COVID-19. Obviously, people are rightfully concerned with the economic effects, but undermining the death toll and the medical severity could have drastic repercussions should we not adhere to the experts.

This leads me to think that the world after could go in many different directions. With that being said, I will try to formulate my thoughts as to where things could go, and what I would like to see be done.

One major concern, especially from the working class, is retirement. With the severe economic downfall I know that many people, including those close to me, are terribly worried as to whether or not they will ever be able to retire should the economy not recover well enough in the next few years.

In order to boost the economy and still practice social distancing, we might have to consider a drastically higher implementation of automated manufacturing, probably through the use of drone and AI (Artificial Intelligence) technology.

I have a lot of fears about doing this, but as Elon Musk has said,

“Adapt or die.”

Musk is quite the innovator of all things technology, and as one of his many projects puts in a lot of work on AI. However, Musk has extensively expressed his fears of a world practically run by AI, and that the only reason he has become a part of it is to oversee it. This scientific approach is quite similar to Einstein’s involvement in Nuclear technology.

“I think AI is something that is risky at the civilization level, not merely at the individual risk level, and that’s why it really demands a lot of safety research,” Musk.

Even with that being said, it might very well be time to implement this technology in a way that we can complete the jobs that are not being done right now, and find jobs for those unemployed to adapt into new roles that fits their skills. We could also use this tech to mass produce things that healthcare workers desperately need to face this virus, such as gloves, masks, gowns and ventilators. A lot of this is being done already, but a more concerted effort might prove fruitful for the future as well as the present.

We might very well use this idea of progress to also make the GREATLY needed transition into a more eco-friendly and self-sustaining world. Especially considering the healing breaths of fresh air that our planet has been taking since the world has gone to a much slower pace, which I find a bit ironic, since COVID-19 makes its victims struggle to breathe.

This also gives us the possibility of moving to a 30 hour work week versus the standard 40, an idea that has substantial data supporting the increase of productivity, while also bettering the mental and physical health for employees.

Adapting and innovating in this fashion would not only help the economy and help combat the virus, but also help us face future pandemics, economic downturns, mass unemployment, environmental destruction and many other possible crises.

However, we could also disregard the experts, move too quickly and face an even greater decrease in population. Maybe our economy takes longer to recover because of the potential death toll. We might even be lucky enough to scathe by as we reopen the economy, only to fall victim to another economic crisis for not making these inevitable adaptations.

The possibilities fall on the spectrum to both the most pessimistic and most optimistic.

It is quite possible that the combination of protestors and preemptive reopening will cause the death toll to soar to such severity that we will be forced to adapt into a new way of life.

Has anyone thought about the fact that mosquito season is upon us, and that they could very well transfer the virus to thousands or even millions of more people than the rates we are currently seeing?

The truth is that we do not rightfully know what the future holds, no matter how we approach the current situation. My only hope is that we start to see this thing collectively in a way that unifies us again.

If any of you readers have questions, comments or concerns, please feel free to email me and maybe I will do a follow up.

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