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Our Virtual Pandemic Year

The pandemic has showed how much we need technology, and its limits.

The pandemic, which officially hit the one-year mark on Thursday, showed how much we need technology — but also that it’s probably not the solution to our biggest challenges.

Here are three things that I’ve learned in the past 12 months: Technology showed its utility by helping people and businesses manage through a crisis. Our increasingly digital lives have also created new problems that will be hard to fix. And the most important things have nothing to do with technology.

First, I am grateful that technology helped many millions of us muddle through work, school and family life. It also kept us informed when little seemed to make sense.

I’m glad that my apartment was able to become On Tech’s headquarters. I entertained myself with digital books and streaming videos, and I stayed in touch through screens with friends and family. I chose to shop at local businesses based on whether I could place online orders and reserve a time for pick up. Technology has helped many of us retain shreds of normalcy in a pandemic.

People who follow technology and people’s habits pretty much all say that the pandemic invented some digital behaviors out of the blue, but that mostly it fast-forwarded digital trends that had already been percolating.

I hope we can keep the best of these new behaviors and attitudes. I also worry that those benefits came with profound downsides — and that the upsides haven’t been shared equally.

And my lasting memory of the past 12 months is that technology often does not matter very much.

It’s been a long, awful year and let’s hope that the next 12 months will be brighter. And also let us hold in our minds that people, not technology, change the world.

We want to hear about a tech habit that you started during the pandemic. Share with On Tech how it’s helped you manage the past year or unleash your creativity. What do you like (and hate) about your new virtual behavior? Do you see yourself keeping it?

Category: Technology

Source: New York Times

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