Tech improves pandemic life

I can’t imagine going through the COVID-19 pandemic without computers. Tech improves pandemic life, and it makes it easier for us to make good decisions.

For reasons of both personal caution and what I see as a moral duty, I am probably in the 80th percentile for cautious behavior during the pandemic. I live alone, and my job lends itself to remote work for almost everything. What’s more, my workplace is a socially-conscious liberal arts college. As a result, I interact with very few people (those I do see are always masked-up).

That lifestyle is only sustainable because of computer technology. I buy and pick up groceries through an app. Meetings take place over video chats. Songs or podcasts play in the background while I cook. I can stream almost anything I want to see. I’ve continued to learn and to work using some excellent rectangles.

Ron Swanson "This is an excellent rectangle." Tech life.

There are tradeoffs, of course, but I have basically lived this way since March. Doing so I have weathered the pandemic as well as I could hope (so far).

The national dialogue now includes a lot of chatter about how to stay safe for the holidays. I’m cautious and want to model good behavior. That means I’ll be on FaceTime for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve. That’s not great, and it’ll be sad not to be physically visiting family.

But for people like me, the alternative to a FaceTime holiday isn’t an in-person holiday, but a canceled holiday, spent in isolation. Thanks to the people in my industry, I don’t have to do that. Technology brings people together. It’s one reason I remain idealistic about the work I do.

Amidst the tragedies and terrors of 2020, pause to appreciate the age we live in and the cool things we’ve invented. Tech improves pandemic life – and improves life in general. There’s lots to worry about if you want (conspiracy theories, AI risk, etc.), but I’m happy to live in a technologically advanced society.