Bill Gates says some things will stay virtual after current health crisis

Bill Gates recently discussed the current health crisis in an interview on LinkedIn. The video was broadcasted live and is about 22 minutes long. You can now watch the entire video on demand. Gates discussed the role of government in the current health crisis, how the pandemic affected the economy, and several other topics related to the unique challenges we currently face. At one point, he also shared his thoughts on if people will stay virtual after the lockdown ends.

With many countries and regions implementing travel restrictions and guidance to stay indoors, businesses and educators have had to move online. Services such as Microsoft Teams, Zoom, and Google Meet have seen massive spikes in usage as people figure out how to be productive without face-to-face interaction. The forced move to a virtual workspace could have longlasting effects on people’s workflow, according to Gates. He believes some things will be replaced, at least in part, with virtual interaction. He said in the interview:

There are a few things like business trips that I doubt will ever go back. I mean, there will still be business trips, but you know, less.

He also shared that while he believes some things will remain virtual, others will go back to normal,

In the case of high school, I think social activity, you know, making friends, hanging out, that you get by being there physically, that’s totally irreplaceable. And so even though on a pure learning basis, if you have an internet connection and a device and you have a teacher who is really good at presenting the material and it’s not a lab-based cost, yes, it’s impressive how people are rising to the occasion and for a subset of students making that work. But I do think, certainly for K-12, we want to go back to having those kids together, you know, learning how to socialize, spending time with their friends.

The interview has several insights from a person in a unique situation during the current health crisis. Gates is working with several people to put an end to the pandemic, including his efforts to fund seven vaccines currently being tested.

Do you think people’s workflows will change once things return to normal? Let us know in the comments below.

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