With the COVID-19 pandemic disrupting daily life, we’ve been adjusting to this new normal using digital platforms and video conferencing to make up for face-to-face interactions, telecommuting, increasing delivery services, and even deploying robots where we can.
As this pandemic stretches on, it’s becoming clear some elements of this highly digitalized lifestyle are here to stay. But that means the role of big tech will be expanding in our lives, and also compromises jobs for thousands, possibly millions of people around the world.
To discuss what this new normal could entail, Korean Arirang News have a discussion with Jeremy Kaplan, Editor in Chief of Digital Trends, joining us from New York and Dr. Kim Byung-joo, Professor at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies in Seoul.
Jeremy Kaplan: Earlier this year, when we spoke at CES, you said you were excited about digital health care devices and solutions this year and the acceleration of AI technology.
Q: What are some digital trends and services you expect to last beyond the virus and become part of the new normal?
Dr. BJ Kim: In South Korea, we’re calling the use of digital platforms and non-contact services and payments as the ‘untact’ economy.
Q: Do you think these services will continue to grow even when the pandemic and social distancing are over? And which companies will have gained the most during this trying time?
Dr. BJ Kim: And how will the growth of remote services and automated business solutions affect people’s jobs and livelihoods. More than 26 million people in the U.S. have already lost their jobs. Worldwide, 75 million are expected to be laid off over the course of the pandemic.
Q: Are these jobs coming back anytime soon?
Jeremy Kaplan: Some companies like Hilton are helping their employees find other work to keep their income levels steady.
Q: Will large companies be expected to play a greater role in society, especially in terms of providing a safety net for their workers?
Jeremy Kaplan: Tech giants are also playing a huge role in facilitating the health and safety of the public, as well as enabling telework and communication. But this involves using location data from smartphones to do contact tracing and health information. This type of surveillance would have been inconceivable a few months ago.
Source: Arirang News