Like most relationships we plunge into with hearts aflutter, our love affair with digital technology promised us the world: more friends, money and democracy! Free music, news and same-day shipping of paper towels! A laugh a minute, and a constant party at our fingertips.
Many of us bought into the fantasy that digital made everything better. We surrendered to this idea, and mistook our dependence for romance, until it was too late.
Through the WI Lens
The author of “Revenge of the Analog: Real Things and Why They Matter” makes a fundamental point with far-reaching implications for the hospitality and retail industries: until recently, most of us bought into the fantasy that digital would make everything better, but the love affair we once enjoyed with digital technology is now over. Indeed! The publishing season and the media are flush with books and articles raising alarms about the pernicious effects of tech on our lives: what smartphones are doing to our children and our mental health; how Facebook and Twitter are eroding our democratic institutions; the economic effects of tech monopolies, etc.
The consequence is this: the analog world will not only survive, but, in many cases, will also thrive. Digital books and digital learning, for example, are in decline with their analog versions (printed books and face-to-face education) making a strong comeback. The same is happening with the bricks and mortar presence of local shops and stores: not only are they not being wiped out by e-commerce, they are in fact expanding. ‘Real’ shops are beginning to be viewed as a counterweight to the easy manipulation of digital and as encouraging human interaction, which is crucial to our physical and mental wellbeing.
The future is not a binary choice between digital and analog, but about how to strike the right balance between the two. The lessons for investors and business leaders: those who hailed the end of analog and the victory of digital – think again!
“On such fragile foundations are built the first steps towards a more ethical kind of business, and who knows what virtuous circles might result?”
“Scientific evidence recently emerged that, contrary to earlier beliefs, Covid-19 can be spread by tiny droplets that we breathe out when we respire, called aerosols.”
“Economic wellbeing is part of the story, but it is also about finding less stressful lifestyles, in which healthy diet figures as a meaningful measure of success.”
“The industry has every asset needed to be a guiding light in the shift toward personal health priority. Will that become a prevention legacy, a ‘phoenix rising’ from the Covid-19 ashes?”
“Looking at the bigger picture, putting the measures in this order represents a lost opportunity that the pandemic could have offered for a cultural pivot pivot towards getting people more focused on their health, a powerful statement of intent.”
“Employment is necessary to fulfil our most basic human needs such as food and shelter. Any significant increase in long-term unemployment will spell a retrograde step for human wellbeing like no other.”
“All roads lead to a wellbeing anchor, whether that be economic/financial, physical, mental or emotional: all contribute to a progressive and inclusive cosmopolitan world. The answer should not be a choice of one or the other but of a joined up and compassionate solution for society, business and individuals.”
“The paradox is that we continue to do this in spite of recognising that striving to become ever-more productive is an intrinsically unhealthy behaviour, leading to stress and too often, a sense of failure.”
“The same broad-sweeping structural racism that enables police brutality against black Americans is also responsible for higher mortality among black Americans with Covid-19,” Maimuna Majumder, a Harvard epidemiologist working on the Covid-19 response, tells Vox.
The take-out from this? Wellbeing cannot exist at a more elevated level without our basic needs being met.