The COVID-19 pandemic has changed all of our lives in many ways over a relatively short time. People, businesses and governments have all had to adapt rapidly to huge changes and disruption. The new necessity of social isolation and physical distancing has largely been made possible by technology, which has enabled communication and organization on a scale impossible 20 or 30 years ago.
Current-level technology has been used to check the progress of the pandemic, undoubtedly saving many lives in the process. It has also reduced the inconvenience and cost of isolating. In many ways, technologically-based systems that were already in place have really come into their own during this crisis. As a result, we may expect the critics of these systems, and those reluctant for whatever reason to adopt new technology, to be fewer in number as the benefits become clearer to all.
The causes of technophobia
Technophobia is defined as a fear or dislike of advanced technology and is often brought on by the sheer pace of technological change to which we are expected to adapt. Advances that would previously have occurred over several generations now take place multiple times during a single lifetime – and the rapidity of change is increasing. Each time we are expected to give up or adapt old habits and learn new ones, an act that requires time, effort and often expense.
As our old routines and ways of life are disrupted, this naturally leads to a sense of anxiety and insecurity. It’s little wonder that many resist. They say the new technology is too complicated or not worth the trouble. They grow fatigued by the constant updates required or the bewildering number of choices. They feel that the technology is invasive, addictive, leaves them vulnerable and distances them from “real life.”
A technological world
Despite this, our society is inherently technological. Technology enables our modern lives and changes the way we live. And although each new generation of technology seems to arrive surrounded by both unfounded conspiracy theories and possibly genuine, if vague, concerns about its harmful effects, it soon becomes not just difficult to avoid but an essential and even unremarkable part of our daily existence.
The pandemic effect
In some ways, the pandemic has only accelerated this inevitable process of reconciliation with technology. From social media to video calls, digital technology that one could previously take or leave is in many cases now something we feel we can’t live without.
On a simple personal level, technology allows us access to entertainment and distractions that otherwise wouldn’t be available during lockdown. Fans of casino games and those who’ve never played before are all heading online to claim the Chumba Casino bonus and play a wide range of virtual table games and online slots.
Public opinion on technology has shifted more towards the positive during the pandemic. In some ways, this is because the virus has given them more important things to worry about. Yet we have also seen how the uncertainty engendered by the pandemic has been given expression in an unjustified and irrational fear of technology – for instance, the recent scares over 5G networks.
On the other hand, surveys have shown that concerns over cyber-crime and internet security are less than they were before the pandemic, even as instances of email, text and website scams have increased massively, with unscrupulous fraudsters taking advantage of confusion around virus response. It seems people are less concerned about sharing their personal information in general when they know that their health, and that of their neighbors, is at stake.
There is no doubt that the pandemic has led to an increased take-up of technological solutions across all sectors of society. Online shopping, click and collect services and e-commerce platforms have become so popular that providers have struggled to meet demand. People who had never heard of Zoom this time last year now regularly use it for business meetings, social calls and entertainment. Remote working, and the use of digital payments rather than cash, have become so ingrained that they are expected to continue indefinitely.
Instead of hearing complaints about the degree to which technology has infiltrated our lives, we are now more likely to hear protests that it is not being rolled out quickly enough, or that it needs to be more effective. Most people have welcomed “track and trace” apps, video consultations at doctor’s surgeries and the search for an effective vaccine.
Technophobes are now increasingly seen as a stubbornly malcontent minority, whose refusal to “get with the program” not only affects their own lives but also inconveniences and even puts at risk those around them. While there will always be legitimate concerns about the way new technology is used and deployed, it seems that in the time of pandemic we are grateful for the digital systems we have in place far more than we fear them.