I remember when I was growing up in the US in the 1990s, our household had one desktop computer, a dial-up internet connection and long-distance phone calls to my grandmother in China was an expensive luxury we scheduled twice a month. Today, our consciousness partially exists online through every single one of our smart devices. Sometimes it can feel like we are overly connected, particularly in the way work invades our life by tethering us to our projects and our colleagues and our employers at all hours of the day.
But all complaints of over-connected, overly digital life suddenly ended when the coronavirus put many of us under abrupt house arrest, and now, every digital connection is a lifeline to the outside world, one that is somehow simultaneously precious and inadequate. Technologies that promised to overcome physical distance and make remote collaboration seamless are being stress-tested with a rigour no was prepared for, and it is clear we are far from ready to join