Will Coronavirus unleash a new mind shift?

Random Walk Around The Universe
4 min readMar 16, 2020

I am a big believer in doing things virtually. I have been running my business virtually and have cut down, for the most part, my social life to virtual interactions. As a technology observer looking into emerging trends, I am a big believer in the following trends:

  • Online education
  • Online Conferences
  • Telemedicine

With the advances in technology we have had in the past decade, I couldn’t believe that these are not the norm in 2020. Clearly, a mindset change is a much bigger problem than technology advances. Even within the technology industry, legacy software and data centers are still a norm. Expecting the above-mentioned trend to be a norm in the world is closer to hallucination. But, unfortunately, Coronavirus is helping here us here in unleashing the technology trend on society.

We are seeing schools and universities shutting down due to Coronavirus and moving to online education. We are seeing conferences, mostly technology conferences from vendors, are moving to virtual conferences. Because of the risks associated with Coronavirus infections in the hospitals, Telemedicine is gaining traction among the patients. These trends are not something to be cherished as it is driven due to a global pandemic. I never expected that I will live through a global pandemic in my life (or anyone will be in the future). It is an unfortunate global strategy that requires global understanding and collaboration. Without undermining (or being insensitive to) the impact of this tragedy, I feel that some of what we underwent during this strategy will stick with us for a long time now. The above-mentioned trends are something to stay beyond this tragedy and will play a role in transforming how we carry out our daily lives.

Moving to virtual education, events, and health care not only helps reduce the costs but also helps keep the planet from the climate crisis. With skyrocketing tuition fees and the rise of digital nomads, getting an undergraduate education online shouldn’t be difficult with today’s technology. While technology can reduce the costs dramatically (no classroom or student community costs, professors could easily recycle their lectures, more flexible office hours for students, less traffic around the universities, etc.), the students can also experience the whole world (instead of just their academic campus and its surroundings) without compromising the quality of education. From the socio-political angle, quality education can reach across the globe, bringing in a scale that is needed for solving the social problems of the future. I personally hope that this forced use of online education for undergraduate education will convince both the students and parents that going virtual for education doesn’t compromise on the quality. After some initial pains in getting adjusted to the new way of learning, students will find more value in online courses. This crisis-driven move to online education will also help parents overcome their own biases against virtual education as they will see their kids getting more value through online education.

I got interested in virtual conferences ever since I attended the virtual cloud computing event called Cloudslam circa 2012. I thought it was a great idea. It not only opens up the conference to a wide variety of attendees but plays a big role in reducing the carbon footprint. When I ran three conferences in 2013 and 2014, I broached the idea of running them as virtual events but people believed in the old fashioned face to face networking during conferences. Virtual conferences remained a pipedream and I hope the current shift to virtual conferences due to Coronavirus helps people understand the value of such virtual conferences and adapt it permanently.

Telemedicine has been gaining traction slowly and I feel that we should be using Telemedicine as the default mode of meeting personal physicians. Now, with the advances in AI technologies, we can help Doctors gain better insights about patients tapping into wearable data, Computer Vision, Emotion AI (emotion detection technology), etc.. Telemedicine allows Doctors to see more patients every day and helps patients avoid taking time off from work. Now include the costs of running a clinic and climate impact of so many people going to such clinics, Telemedicine is a better choice for many conditions. Of course, Telemedicine is not the right option for certain conditions and a Doctor’s visit is unavoidable. The lack of widespread adoption in telemedicine is also a result of the mindset of the patients used to old fashioned health care practice. Since Coronavirus is pushing many patients to telemedicine as default, I am hoping that patients and doctors get more comfortable with this virtual care system and continue it into the future.

Our society has paid a heavy cost due to Coronavirus with valuable lives lost. But I hope it also brings in the changes I have mentioned in this blog post. Such changes are not only efficient and cost-effective during normal times, but it will also provide a readily available infrastructure to continue some aspects of life in any future crisis. Thoughts?




Random Walk Around The Universe

Future Asteroid Farmer, Analyst, Modern Enterprise, Startup Dude, Ex-Red Hatter, Rishidot Research, Modern Enterprise Podcast, and a random walker