Frivolous speculation about the long-term effects of coronavirus

by skybrian1 min read15th Mar 20208 comments



This is just for fun as a diversion from more serious news and thinking. I would be interested in hearing what people on LessWrong have to say about cultural / economic changes. Let's assume we (well, the survivors) get through this but it takes long enough to result in cultural changes, and extrapolate in a science fiction sort of way. What would be some changes that persist after it's over? I think there could be lots of interesting side effects.

A trivial one might be that mask usage becomes more popular outside Asia. I'm a bit surprised people aren't making their own masks already. Mask fashion? (Update: this happened.) Veils? More use of gloves?

Increased comfort and skill with video chat. More working from home, more online education, video doctor's appointments become routine. (Of course this was already well under way.) Even more e-sports. More tiny desk concerts?

A resurgence of car culture? There's nothing like a car for enforcing social distance even in traffic. More drive-ins at restaurants, and also more comfort and use of curbside pickup. Contactless payment becomes routine. Maybe people will want their own driverless cars just for sanitary reasons? One downside: maybe less use of public transportation because crowds are scary, although getting into mask fashion might be more practical.

More delivery of course.

Probably less emphasis on recycling and more on safety and cleanliness, and safe disposal.

Prepping could go mainstream. Hopefully we won't be too silly about it. In urban areas, maybe you'd buy an option on a disaster kit so you don't need to store it locally or worry about refreshing it. Also, tracking the location of supplies you have an option on, so you know they are actually there and can be delivered in a day.

Outdoor and home exercise become more popular.

Increased use of copper in architecture for buttons, doorknobs, railings, etc? At least in richer areas. Copper keycaps? Copper mice? Though, when placed next to electronics, you'd want to make sure it's well-grounded.

Vote by mail everywhere.

Any other ideas?