After a decade or so, history might be re-written and segregated into pre-pandemic and post-pandemic eras. While the pre-pandemic period would comprise World Wars, global treaties, historical developments, etc. The post-pandemic period might be about technological developments, jabs, booster doses, the age of metaverse, virtual reality, zoom, artificial intelligence, the great resignation, and more to come ...
We earlier learnt that the world is shrinking because of the internet age. However, the technological developments during the pandemic further shrank it and brought people across cities and even people next door much closer. Thanks to all the technology platforms including gaming, social networking, chatting, vlogging, etc.
During the pandemic's initial days, i.e., Q1 of 2020, enterprises have forced and exploited the virtual world. Everyone turned "online" with 'survival instinct' in the digital era.
Perks of the pandemic
We have a very short-lived memory, and most of us forgot the perks that the pandemic brought with it. Countries across the globe imposed restrictions to minimize social interaction and stop the spread of infection. That was when online, and tech companies brought in special perks to keep the population at home.
In March 2020, most video streaming services companies slashed their prices and offered freebies, including trials, to increase their viewership while the world was quarantining. Refinery29 reported All The Streaming Services With Free Trials To Watch While In Quarantine.
Teleconferencing and web conferencing tools were a boom for the legal industry and the best alternative for in-person depositions, courtroom testimonies, and motion hearings. Video conferencing made it possible to attend mandatory courtroom proceedings.
In our February 2022 blog, Legal Technology: Trends and Predictions by Gartner, we discussed Gartner's top 5 legal technology trends. Zack Hutto, the Lead Advisor for Corporate Legal and Compliance Tech at Gartner, said: "Legal departments will increase spending on technology to reduce the dependency on outside counsel, address COVID-19, and satisfy a long-overdue need to modernize, digitize and automate legal work".
AJ Shankar, CEO and Co-Founder at EverLaw, in his February 2021 article for Forbes, stated, "[T]he pandemic came and changed the game for everybody, including law firms and in-house legal teams".
According to Clio's 2020 Legal Trends Report, "The majority of consumers also favour a lawyer who offers technology solutions with 69% of consumers preferring to share documents electronically, 65% preferring to pay through electronic payments, and 56% preferring video conferencing over a phone call."
In a way, effective delivery of services made its route through courtrooms.
While there were perks, enterprises and individuals all missed realizing the importance of privacy. We all unconsciously shared our personal details with numerous applications without even knowing if they were safe. Be it delivery of essential food supplies or kids' education, we shared what they asked without any objection.
In a December 2020 article titled The year we gave up on Privacy, Sara Morrison states, "People have turned to Zoom, only to find that the company hadn't put a lot of thought into its privacy controls or cybersecurity. Zoombombing was easy and frequent, subjecting users to images of pornography and racism in the middle of their math classes and town meetings. Zoom claimed to offer end-to-end encryption; it didn't. It also sent user data to Facebook and LinkedIn."
She further adds, "Not only did people integrate more data collection and information exposure into their daily lives, but they were also told that this tracking could have public health benefits."
Herb Stapleton, FBI Cyber Division Section Chief, while talking to Hillarie McClure on the Cybercrime Radio podcast, mentioned that post-pandemic, there was a 3x spike in the complaints received by the FBI's Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3.gov). He further added – before March (2020), the IC3 was receiving 1,000 complaints per month, and now that figure is up to nearly 3,000.
In the Impact of Technology on Human Rights article, we stated, "While there are significant benefits that technology can bring, there are ethical considerations that modern societies must be aware of to further protect themselves from human rights violation with the advancing intelligent technology."
Bubble burst or comeback
During the beginning of the pandemic, enterprises and individuals opted for quick bites into everything that came their way. The adoption of the technological solution was the same, and everyone went with a readily available and cost-effective solution. Later as the time passed, everyone thought through the actual value and re-assessed the solution at hand. The assessment resulted in opting for a more robust and secure solution.
As a result, in the first quarter of 2022, when covid cases were diminishing, tech companies were experiencing negative growth. According to a May 2022 CNBC report, "Big Tech suffered a massive sell-off, with Amazon dropping almost 8% and Facebook owner Meta Platforms off about 7%. Among other big names: Apple fell nearly 6%; Google parent Alphabet declined about 5%, and Microsoft shares slid 4%. Overall, the Nasdaq plummeted 5%."
The report further adds, "For certain Covid winners like Netflix, Zoom, Peloton and Twilio, the reversal of fortune has been even more dramatic than the run-up. Each of them is down more than 45% year to date, and their slumps deepened Thursday."
We might have to wait for a quarter or two to get the exact reason.
Although most experts termed remote working as the New Normal, with recent developments (the fall in revenue for tech-based companies). Can we say it was just a bubble blown out by the pandemic, and a crucial reason can be privacy concerns?