What Comes After What Comes Next

Volume: 
63
Issue: 
4

“Merely quantitative differences, beyond a certain point, pass into qualitative changes.”

––Karl Marx

There is one prediction among many that rings true to me about the disruptive effects of the COVID-19 pandemic––namely, that this crisis will accelerate trends that were already in motion. People were already working from home but more as the exception than the rule. There were already pockets of telemedicine, but these were sporadic and limited by insurance reimbursement rules. Educators were already providing digital courses and certifications, but these were not really competing with the traditional university experience. We are now living these trends—and many others—at scale. Today these experiences tend to replicate the corresponding offline experience with an impoverished online version. But the quantitative change in usage will result, eventually, in qualitatively different experiences as innovators redefine work and play using digital affordances.