It is a warm spring day. We are heading towards the launch platform to depart to our Mars adventure. It is the best 75th birthday present someone can hope for these days.
The lack of sound of the passing by electric cars is still a weird reminder of how much has changed since the Great Halt of 2020.
Twenty years have passed since the first pandemic the world had a chance to experience in real-time. The actions, albeit coordinated, were too late. The death toll was a smashing 4% of the infected. And 70% of the global population was infected over 18 months.
Nevertheless, the main issue was the economic downturn. It was the worst crisis ever recorded—a result of high government debts and irrational behaviors in the financial market. The real economy suffered severely for a decade before it was able to start operating normally. Centenary corporations became dust as they could not generate the cash to continue working, and banks were incapable of rescuing them. The whole system collapsed.
However, that economic downturn catalyzed a very positive change—one where people and technology started operating much better together. The great halt of 2020 was the first time where people running businesses behind walls of technology and not brick and mortar walls generated value. It was also the first time the physical supervision gave room for the trust that people could do their best when allowed to work with a higher purpose in mind.
It was also a realization that market boundaries disappeared. If I could video conference or VR with my customer 10 kilometers away, perhaps I could do the same with a customer 5,000 kilometers away. The individual's worth was not a reflection of where that person lived or worked but rather how much value that person could add to the customer. When that potential was unlocked, pure magic started happening.
It was a long-desired mindset shift, but unleashing that potential accelerated the convergence in technology to a pace never thought possible before.
When people reacquainted themselves with what was critical in life due to the fact they had to stay in quarantine for 40 days (the 1400s Venetian were not so wrong on the period needed after all...but that is another story), everyone stopped taking the benefits of modern life for granted.
The humans need an incentive, the great halt of 2020 gave the species the impetus to act on some of the most substantial problems affecting our existence. The first to be crossed of the list were poverty, hunger, and health on a large scale. Climate change came next as the society found ways to converge the developing technologies in a way that allowed people to focus their joint efforts on not only solving the threatening problems but also going beyond to safeguard a better planet for their kids.
And their kids also rose to the occasion. Those 40 days and the challenging years that followed got imprinted in their memories as a period of difficulty as most had never expected. However, they learned to appreciate the easy access to knowledge and how they could help each other grow and develop. Self-education and accelerated learning became the norm; there was no time to lose - they had a planet and their humanity to save.
As knowledge became more specialized, many professions got altered as they merged man and machine symbiotically. The time spent in executing tasks became a fraction of what it was before the great halt of 2020, and that time went into learning the secrets of what made people successful in multiple levels of their lives. You could not only be very specialized expertise in one thing, but you could also and was encouraged to become insightful about your passions - and the more you learned, the more you could commercialize it.
As that movement started, people realized they should use their free time for entertaining education. Education overtook the entertainment industry by storm. There were only so many sporting events that a person can follow. Still, the realization that knowledge was valuable was the ignition of the exponential acceleration in the years that followed the great halt of 2020.
When the world stopped in 2020, it was a reinvention moment. Humanity realized together after being forced to stay home to avoid a catastrophe (which generated an irreversible side effect) that it needed a new way. That reset converged mindset and technology working in tandem to resolve some of the most massive problems we have ever been presented.
The great halt of 2020 was when humanity needed to reinvent itself !! And we prevailed !!