Effect of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Technology
By: Muhammad Taha Ali
It is common knowledge that every 100 years, there is a pandemic of varying scale and lethality. The reason for this is still unknown; but from the Plague in the early 1720s to the Covid-19 Pandemic in the early 2020s, these pandemics have led to advances in human knowledge. The particular subject that the Covid-19 pandemic has allowed us to advance in is Technology.
There has been rapid technological development over the past 2 years. The pandemic had forced everyone to stay at home, due to which our use of technology vastly increased. Businesses, Schools and what not transferred online and it seemed like we had to spend most of our day sitting in front of a computer screen. This led to increased use of social media platforms, such as Facebook, Whatsapp and Instagram, which caused people to worry about their privacy. It did not help the fact that many companies actively updated their privacy policies causing a lot of controversies which were quickly believed by the technologically illiterate. The issue of privacy was one of the main highlights that led to the promotion of Web 3.0 and blockchain architecture. Blockchain is a type of database, that is publically distributed and decentralized, meaning no certain organization has access to it. Over the past few years blockchain has gained popularity, which has also led to the increased use of cryptocurrencies.
Cryptocurrencies are digital currencies that use blockchains as their ledger (database where their transactions are stored). Just like blockchain, cryptocurrencies are also decentralised and are similar to gold. They are a digital asset, that adjusts their price according to supply and demand. The demand for cryptocurrencies has increased so much that over 3.3 trillion dollars worth of cryptocurrencies is circulating the market.
Another technology that has seen accelerated growth is Artificial Intelligence. Due to quarantine being imposed in many parts of the world, most companies had to shut down their factories due to the lack of labour, this caused a lack of stock in the world as well as heavy losses for the companies. The companies decided to invest in Artificially Intelligent Robots to take over the work of humans and many companies largely automated their manufacturing process.
On the topic of sales and stock. The world also shifted to online shopping rather than in-store shopping. Online shopping platforms such as Amazon and eBay gained immense popularity. Due to the increase in demand both platforms increased their reach and started supporting sellers from multiple different countries where they previously did not. This allowed sellers from all over the world to maintain an online presence and sell their goods around the globe.
Virtual Reality should also not be neglected. Most companies started adopting virtual and augmented reality, with Apple rumoured to launch Apple Glass, a pair of augmented reality glasses. The world’s leading technology giant, Facebook also changed its name to Meta, to advertise their new product Metaverse. Metaverse is a Virtual Reality platform that is being heavily developed. Meta is also working on prototype gloves that would allow you to feel anything you touch in the virtual world.
All these have also led to immense success for tech giants. It can be noticed by the fact that before the pandemic hit, there was one person in the world with a net worth of more than 100 billion dollars, Bill Gates, the CEO of Microsoft. Now CEOs of many tech companies have accumulated immense wealth, with Elon Musk’s fortune reaching near 300 billion dollars.
All this leads to the conclusion that it is time that we are aware of technological advances and we too advance with them. As the pandemic has taught us all, we need to live with the times or we will be left behind. Most adults had not kept in touch with modern technology and faced a huge learning curve when everything shifted online. This only confirms that technology is an essential part of our life and will have an ever so increasing impact on our lives shortly.