Written by : Devina Prima Kesumaningtyas, Intern Research Project Child Indonesia
After President Joko Widodo announced that there were two people infected by COVID-19, everyone uproared with this news. People start to panic buying, and then the scarcity of disinfectants, masks, and alcohol hand rub. Also, everyone becomes aware to wash their hand regularly. Ironically, the pandemic evokes people’s awareness how importance it is to implement good personal hygiene such as to wash their hands and to not touch their face with dirty hands.
Now everyone starts to reduce their activities outside their homes. The hashtag stay at home and work from home or WFH are viral on social media. This is to remind people to not doing activities outside the home except it is essential and encourage people to keep two meters distance because to reduce the risk of virus contagion. Many applications such as Google class and Zoom are used by people since physical interaction is not possible, such as teaching, seminars, and meetings are carried out using this application. But do you know if this pandemic is kind of a trial for humans about the future of our society in technology, which makes humans themselves have no limits?
There is one interesting book that has ever talked about human life side by side with technology. This book explains how people build technology with the purpose to help human’s job. Humans are accustomed to creating a variety of artificial intelligence that can facilitate human activities. In industrial 4.0 era, the technology was able to replace human to some extent. And now, people have become so dependent on technology, smartphones with various applications in it have changed the way people work, even the way humans interact.
From this explanation, let us step back for a moment, to a time when the communication and information system was not as fast as it is now. We had to wait for weeks or even months to find out news from someone who lived in different city. Humans sent letters to communicate with people who are far away from them. Likewise, news that can be accessed through newspapers. There were more effort to send messages and to know what was happening around the world. So that human tried to invent ways to have better and communication system, until the discovery of satellites which are the key to changing the long-distance communication system by humans.
Now everything has changed, we had advanced communication technology and its have an impact on human behavior itself. I think millennials know how it feels to texting during their childhood and even their young teens. From shortened messages to save credit, or only text at certain hours, because there are promos and freebies from certain providers. All of that is part of the evolution of human behavior in communication. Now we have facilitated the existence of video call services and even conference calls that allow many people from various corners of the earth to communicate in one big forum, without having to leave their place.
I think COVID-19 becoming trials for humans to live their life in a cyber society. Before this pandemic appeared there were already many borderless jobs, where we no longer need to go to the office just to have a meeting or do our work. Working remotely has become commonplace at this time. Companies do not need to have a large office building. That could only be a mere formality after all meetings and work can be handled through social media. Likewise in the future learning system, maybe school buildings will be quiet and empty because their students can learn on their own via the internet. This pandemic looks to prepare us to live in a new condition when everyone doesn’t need physical interaction.
Manuel Castell once wrote that Several major social, technological, economic, and cultural information came together to give rise to a new form of society”. This quote is taken from his book entitled The Rise of Network Society. The quote illustrates that the shape of our society may change with the times, technological advancements, and an increasingly advanced economy. Our society, which is usually connected in the real world, might turn into a virtual society. After all, this has happened when the rise of social media such as Whatsapp, Line, Instagram, and so on. COVID-19 pandemic is a kind of trial for many people to live their life as a part of cyber society. And we never know what’s going to happen after this pandemic. I think this pandemic will change the way human interaction. And our technology developed also our culture value always changed following the technology itself.
And now we still don’t know when this pandemic will end. Maybe the vaccine has been found, but it’s still in a trial period that takes a year or more. And then this time was uncertainty for every human. But now the question is, are humans ready to change the way they interact with fellow humans? Maybe after this pandemic ends it will affect the way we interact with others. The habit of not coming into contact with others may also still be left in the minds of each of us, giving rise to its fears for humans. Humans may still say hello, but they can’t be as close as before the pandemic appeared. Reporting from the BBC News Indonesia website Anthony Fauci, a Head of the National Institute in the US for the problem of Allergy and Infectious Diseases said so, “I think we should not shake hands again.” The phrase shows that physical contact made by humans is no longer needed, given there will be many possible diseases that can be transmitted from physical contact between humans. Not to mention the possibility that this virus can mutate into a virus that is even more resistant to any drug. The worst, if these pandemics never end, then what happens is, humans will not be able to interact directly and make physical contact, and humans will be alone, together.
Sherry Turkle : Alone Together :Why We expect More from T e c h n o l o g y and Less from each other
Manuel Castell : The Network Society A Cross-cultural Perspective
BBC Indonesia : Virus Corona: Apakah Covid-19 Akan Membuat Kebiasaan Jabat Tangan Punah?