Monday, March 16, 2020

Virus musings


       I am not a doctor.  I am an artist who daydreams a lot.  So this post is not about how to live through a pandemic.   I will say that you shouldn't lick door handles. This post is going to be about how our world might change after the coronavirus.  It is just me daydreaming about things that may or may not happen.  Oh also don't lick hands. 
     Speaking of hands.  In my latest immersive narrative called "Hand" which you probably have lots of time to explore if,  like me, you are planning to go nutty staying home for a few weeks.  So yes anyway, in Hand you may have seen this advert to the right on a wall there.    I define the world, that all my stories exist in, through various methods with one being the advertisements  you come across.  I think our society often can be defined by the advertising we are inundated with.  I guess this advert is kind of relevant at the moment.  In this one I imagined a society where people had to wear masks, but they positioned the product so that it defined the person carrying it, almost as an accessory.  You go out with your purse, your hat and your mask.  They are fun and trendy and people read you through the type of mask you wear.  That is how they hide the fear of having to wear one.  The mask no longer says we live in a dangerous environment, but rather it draws people to you socially and fashionably.
     But what might change in our world post coronavirus?  so if "Fake news" was the popular term before the virus then perhaps "social distancing" will be the new thing.  For example, I have just begun a new build for a university.  It is for their disaster management course where students will practice dealing with various emergencies.  For this course I am building a plane crash at an airport.  With the coronavirus and closed schools students are away for a period of time, and they will use second life and my build remotely from home to continue their education.  Lots of places are finding ways to allow for remote workers, and once all the time and effort is put into making "remote" work.. well I imagine it will stay around.  Will the advent of 5g networks and remote work environments be a boon for second life or other vr spaces?  from what I understand 5g networks greatly increase bandwith which would then allow for much larger groups of people to be in one location at a time in sl.. which would be appealing to advertisers and so on. 
     In 1950 30% of the worlds population lived in urban centers.  Currently that number stands at 55% and it is predicted that by 2030 it will jump to 60%.  With remote work being possible, the high cost of living in cities and the lingering fear of crowds that this pandemic might instill in people.. could this trend slow or even reverse?  Will there be a baby boom?  yes I imagine so.  Can only play monopoly so many times.  Will distance technologies pop up?  touch screen at the grocery store?!! hard pass!  Please let me just hold up my card from a distance.. thx.  In fact I will pay a bit more if you deliver or put my groceries at a drive thru window.  Will even entire health systems change such as in the USA where strict testing rules may have allowed coronavirus to spread unchecked.  Will Scientiests and thinkers be elected over tv show hosts?  Will, finally, man made concepts like "economy" and "capitalism" step back in importance over realities such as climate change and viruses that really are not interested in what humans find important?
     In the end perhaps this will make us stronger.  A world that works together and one which got practice through a virus that, while scary and dangerous, has a mortality rate on average of around 3% currently.  Many have mild reactions and the greatest danger is for those 70+.  That is not to say we should relax, because we are protecting those beside us with our precautions, but imagine if the mortality rate were similar to avian bird flu at 60% or untreated rabies at 100%?   Glass half full we are learning.
     Also at my build called "Hand" stands a robot figure at the top of the subway steps.  She is a robot programmed to sing and entertain.  In my imaginary world you could hire robot Elvis, Michael Jackson or even Fever Ray for your birthday parties and work functions.   The old robot singing to an empty city at the top of the steps is that of Vera Lynn, a popular World War two artist whose songs gave people hope that all their hardships will eventually pass.  She sings in her song White cliffs of Dover...

"The shepherd will tend his sheep
The valley will bloom again
And Jimmy will go to sleep
In his own little room again"
 
and then she continues in We'll meet Again with
 
"We'll meet again
Don't know where
Don't know when
But I know we'll meet again some sunny day
Keep smiling through
Just like you always do
'Till the blue skies drive the dark clouds far away"
 
Everyone be safe.


1 comment:

Allie Tomsen said...

Oh Bryn, this is something much needed-- especially by those of us who wonder if any good will come from all the hype. Thanks for supplying one answer.
(Is there anyone else but me who believes the exclusive "breaking news" stories will taper off after the U.S. Presidential election?