The return of humanity in the digital era
Not long ago… Being at home for dinner together as a family or with a group of friends was a rarity, and when it did happen, right next to the knife and fork would be our phone.
A rare call to parents, but generally parents calling kids, was short and sweet. Board games were gathering dust in the loft whilst there never seemed enough time to get through the next Netflix series. Our new best friend, our phone, was for texting, posting or surfing – talking was so yesterday.
You walked the streets and rarely would anyone smile or say hello to a stranger. Who can remember the last time they had a chat with a neighbour over the fence? Who knew what hardships people in our neighbourhood were going through? Who cared about the people cleaning our streets, stacking shelves or cleaning hospitals?
On your way to work you’d see a line of people with heads down deeply focused on their phones to notice others around them. You get to work, meeting after meeting and before you know it, you missed the kids bath time. Digital was a tool for commerce, digital was a competitive differentiator, the driver to be a Unicorn and have untold wealth.
How the tables have turned
Locked down at home, how we miss our freedom of the outdoors that many of us underexploited. How we realise the importance of those we rarely saw. Now with time on our hands for digital, we miss the human and physical aspects of our lives. The abundance of everything and instant access is replaced with scarcity or unavailability and waiting. We fear the news to hear the latest statistics…
The return of humanity
What amazes me most is how quickly humanity has returned, and though some will argue it had never gone, the positive changes are stark differences to the way that life was prior to the lock down.
People are investing in themselves, learning new skills and trying to get fitter and eat healthy. Families are spending more time together than ever before and family meals are the norm. Board games are being dusted off and played with friends and family online, a kind of bionic approach which makes no big deal about this being enabled by technology. Phones are being used as phones and the fact we can see and talk to multiple people is a given.
Going for a run people actually acknowledge your presence on the street, and many will actually voice the words “hello” or “good morning”. Neighbours are reacquainted through WhatsApp groups and are helping strangers on their road, these strangers that have been living there for years. The community is uniting through technology and adapting faster than ever before, but few are in awe of the technology.
Working from home is a privilege as we realise there are so many that don’t have the choice. Meetings start with concern for others and then onto business. For those working, life seems much more balanced between self, family/friends, neighbourhood/community and work.
I’m just saying
Bar a few countries, we know that despite the current situation we are in the calm before the storm. So, this post was really to highlight the positive impact of the current situation and how our past was not necessarily better.
To reflect on the positives so that we may remember them after the storm. My prediction is we will come out of this situation with us treating digital / technology as a utility and place higher focus on humanity. I want to thank all those that have read and commented on my posts and wish that you and all your families are well and staying safe. God bless you all.
Dharmesh Mistry has been in banking for 30 years and has been at the forefront of banking technology and innovation. From the very first internet and mobile banking apps to artificial intelligence (AI) and virtual reality (VR).
He has been on both sides of the fence and he’s not afraid to share his opinions.