I am in England with my two children, watching and witnessing this COVID-19 process with the rest of the world. I found it necessary to take notes for myself and analyse this situation, which turned our lives upside down wherever we may be and became a milestone in human history. What kind of people will we emerge from this period when we do not know the unknown? How will state structures, regimes, leaders, economies, and concepts evolve?
In a world where change itself is also accelerating, how critically do we think about developments that span a long period, how much do we scrutinize concepts and institutions? How far can we see ahead?
How much can we discuss the values stuck between dreams and reality? Within state structures that are expected to be democratic, how many of our targets are we able to achieve in closing the gap between what is and what should be? How well do our values serve the new needs of the new world?
To what extent can we shape the future? What do we take as reference when we go about this shaping? To what extent are we able to influence policies?
While developing policies, we would analyse our recent past, take into account today’s dynamics and devise alternative scenarios for the future and then eliminate the worst scenario while reimagining it, and anticipate the needs and trends of the future… Yes, that is what we have been doing so far. But is that a method that will work from now on?
As the definitions of concepts evolve, the economy becomes the “new economy”; the world order as we know it is now the “new world order” and contains new elements concerning the future. Change is even more fast approaching and inevitable now, but there are also unknowns that we cannot control in our lives. COVID-19 is just one of them, and perhaps just the beginning.
While concepts such as economy, politics and capitalism are being redefined during the COVID-19 era, people, companies and even states have turned to technology and all things digital, which bring along more democratic and egalitarian solutions. The words “to make the world a better place”, which were regarded as important in pre-COVID times as well but were only ever expressed in the context of “wishes and desires”, are now critical; it is time to act, not to talk. This new era which has brought along new business models, products and services into the business world is now expected to create more sustainable values in more innovative ways. Goals beyond profitability and values that serve society and the environment are now determinant factors in funding investments.
What will happen next?
Digital money, contactless payment, online shopping will enter our lives completely. Although personal tracking systems that came into our lives with COVID-19 have been perceived as an intervention into private life, it seems that it will become an inevitable policy for security reasons. We will all become data.
In a new order where social values are changing rapidly, a social structure in which consumer behaviour changes as rapidly awaits us. Sectors, where consumer behaviour will be much more determinative, will develop. “What impact do I have?”, the existential anxiety, or call it a motivation, Millennials and Generation Z have embedded in their genes from birth, will change the DNA of business and politics. The “impact” factor in investments will be a measurement value that determines the preferability of an investment.
This “new human” model, which questions the life we live in a more “liquid” social structure and ponders about the impact they have created with their choices, will represent the evolving humane side of development and growth. It seems that we will be much more sensitive to concepts such as climate change, mental illness, sustainability, and impact.
The transition to automation and the widespread use of artificial intelligence (AI) will also highlight the social and environmental impact of AI. Digitalization will spread further in the face of the necessity of systems that regulate the relationship between humans and machines. Creativity will be all the more precious as it represents originality and uniqueness in essence but can also be consumed collectively.
The process of resisting and protecting one another against COVID- 19 and this pandemic will be the beginning of our collective transition from “I” to “we”. Gone are the days when we, as humans, thought that everything revolved around us and that all resources were ascribed to our use. As human beings, we are now in an order where we will understand that we are a part of an ecosystem much larger than us.