• Yuval Ben Nun יובל בן נון

The world as we knew it, is still out there?

In the last few days, while staying in the 3rd lockdown in Israel, I had a few day to day events/discussions that raised a big question.

The world as we knew it, is it still there? Three things out of many that might say it's not.

1st thing was a conversation about sports events and concerts "from the past" (less than a year ago). The question was, "what if these kinds of events will become a story that you tell your kids and grandsons, once upon a time….."

2nd thing was a meeting with my twins' teacher, a mid-year meeting summary that we did use the Zoom. I saw the effort on the other side to be with us in person, while I was thinking, it saved me so much time. What if we become addicted to social distance, timesaving, efficiency, looking at each other's eyes through a small square, and sometimes even compromise on a black square.

The 3rd thing is my twins' ability to shop online that developed in less than a few months and start in June; it became a new sport for them and my wife (to be honest, mine too). This fact, supported by the statistics of eCommerce's growth (up by 50% and more) and the retail fading (down in the US by 60% in 2020), made me ask how far we went.

It used to be my Friday morning me time, walking to do my weekend shopping, meeting people, sitting in a coffee shop to chat, meeting friends, and more. Now, We learned that most of the things could be brought to us. We order our groceries online, trying to do the minimum possible in places with too many people.

Are those habits or Behaviors?

"Habits are the things a person repeatedly does until such time that it becomes automatic. While behavior is the system's reaction on the impulses around it, a habit is a thing a person does repeatedly and subconsciously until it becomes a routine" (source DifferenceBetween).

I reached out to Dr Shibaz to ask her whether those changes we see today in the world are here to stay?

Dr Shibaz: This is an interesting question.

The most critical missing variable in this attempt to predict the future is how long the "covid way of life" will stay. It is essential because acquiring new habits takes time.

Whether or not people develop a new habit, and how long it takes, depends on the difference between their old and new behaviors. For example, meeting in zoom is new for most people who experienced a "big difference" from what they knew. Thus, it will require a much longer time until zoom in on our personal life will be a traditional way of interaction. Just as you described the meeting with your twins' teacher, the teacher on her side had put much effort into the attempt to create personal interaction using the zoom. On the other side of the screen, you were busy with noticing how different this meeting is in terms of efficiency and interaction from what you have known. Habits, however, are automatic, effortless, and unnoticeable behaviors.

I suspect that the post covid world has only sped up changes that were already here when it comes to online shopping. Therefore, there is only a "small difference" in people's online shopping habits. Thus, there is a better chance that online shopping has already become a common way of shopping for many.

So, I guess that some changes are here to stay. Yet, I believe that in the bigger picture, this is still the same world. Although it may seem like it's forever, so far, it is only one year of Covid time. In terms of evolution, it's not more than a minute. We adjust. But I believe that we haven't got used to most of the changes in today's world as a society, including lockdowns, social distance, or meetings in pixels.

Moreover, humans are social animals. Despite the changes in how we socialize with each other (e.g., smaller families and communities), we still have to communicate to survive. Therefore, even if sports events and concerts will become a story that we'll tell our sons and daughters, most likely our grandchildren will look for a way to revive them, so they can feel they belong to a larger group.

I believe humanity took a turn due to the current world crises, but it looks like it is just a detour.

Having Dr Shibaz, who is known as a big believer in humankind, I wonder if we are becoming the robots and people from the movies. Maybe we are heading to become part of the Matrix and its part of human evolution?

Is the world as we knew it, is still out there?

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