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In just a few months, billions of lives have been transformed. We’re now rethinking many facets of our daily lives, from work to travel to groceries. Some of those changes are temporary; others may prove lasting. So we asked experts: What’s one way life will be different in five years because of coronavirus? Their answers anticipate a world in which we’ll have to adapt as we feel out a new normal. —Alexandra Ossola, special projects editor

Industry
    • academia

      • Elizabeth Currid-Halkett

        Elizabeth Currid-Halkett

        Professor of public policy at the Price School, University of Southern California

        I hope and I believe that in five years, we will focus more on human relationships not stuff, the importance of all human beings and their rights, and the ways in which we can be a better society working together despite our differences.

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      • Hany Farid

        Hany Farid

        Professor, electrical engineering & computer science and the school of Information, University of California, Berkeley

        In five years, I expect us to have long since reached the boiling point that leads to reining in an almost entirely unregulated technology sector to contend with how technology has been weaponized against individuals, society, and democracy.

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      • Adam Grant

        Adam Grant

        Professor, organizational psychology, Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania

        My bet is that movie theaters won’t exist.

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      • Mauro Guillén

        Mauro Guillén

        Professor, Wharton School; Author, 2030: How Today’s Biggest Trends Will Collide and Reshape the Future of Everything

        The shift towards remote work can potentially help better-educated senior citizens the most, enabling them to perform many jobs from the comfort of their homes or to participate in the so-called gig economy.

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      • Amba Kak

        Amba Kak

        Director (Global Programs), AI Now Institute, New York University

        The pandemic will demonstrate that digital tools should not be the default response to social crises.

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      • Bruce Schneier

        Bruce Schneier

        Fellow, Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard Law School

        If we want to be secure against these crises and more, we need to add inefficiency back into our systems.

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      • Sarait Martinez & Seth Holmes

        Sarait Martinez & Seth Holmes

        Indigenous Zapotec organizer in California and Chair of the Board of the Binational Center for the Development of Oaxacan Indigenous Communities (CBDIO); associate professor of medical anthropology and public health, University of California Berkeley

        Society will learn to treat farmworkers with gratitude and dignity.

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    • Art & Design

      • Nabila Alibhai

        Nabila Alibhai

        Founder, inCOMMONS

        Art and creativity will also help us redefine ourselves in the context of a new reality.

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      • Benjamin Bratton

        Benjamin Bratton

        Professor of Visual Arts at University of California, San Diego

        The hour-by-hour quantification of the status of bodily fluids—heretofore the purview of diabetics and hypochondriacs—will be standard preoccupations of everyday life.

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      • Joshua Citarella

        Joshua Citarella

        Artist

        Gen Z’s identity formation is a series of taking positions on a crisis with explicit political consequences.

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      • Hilary Cottam

        Hilary Cottam

        Author, Radical Help: How We Can Remake the Relationships Between Us & Revolutionise the Welfare State

        In a time of loss and deep suffering, new forms of spontaneous social infrastructure have emerged.

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      • Keller Easterling

        Keller Easterling

        Director, Master of Environmental Design program, Yale University

        Covid-19 is an X-ray of whiteness, inequality, and ineffectual government as well as a rehearsal for climate catastrophe.

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      • Addie Wagenknecht

        Addie Wagenknecht

        Artist

        There’s nothing profound in telling the truth, and we cannot afford to lose this time that we are capturing right now.

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      • Forest Young

        Forest Young

        Global Principal and Head of Design, Wolff Olins, North America

        As the survivalist mentality wanes and job security becomes more relaxed, an occupational gratitude will give way to a meditation on that work which was worth dying for.

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    • Business

      • Melissa Gregg

        Melissa Gregg

        Chief technologist, User Experience and Sustainability for Client Computing, Intel

        In five years, many of us will still be working from office settings, but we will do so less often, with trepidation.

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      • Anthea Kelsick

        Anthea Kelsick

        Co-CEO, B Lab US and Canada

        This is the time to build a new social contract between business and society, and to rebuild the economy in a more inclusive, equitable, and regenerative way.

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      • Jill Krimmel

        Jill Krimmel

        Interim president, Stubhub

        In a post-coronavirus world, virtual events and livestreaming will democratize live events, allowing for more people in more places to tune in to types of events that were previously unavailable to them.

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      • Yannick Lefang

        Yannick Lefang

        Founder, KASI

        Digital will play a larger role in the way Africans live in five years because of coronavirus.

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      • David McCourt

        David McCourt

        Founder and CEO, Granahan McCourt Capital; author, Total Rethink

        It can no longer be accepted that location determines your right to reliable, high-speed connectivity, which today is a vital utility.

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      • Narayana Murthy

        Narayana Murthy

        Founder, Infosys Limited

        I hope the world accepts, adopts, and practices the safe, elegant and 4,000-year old Indian form of greeting—namaste (folding both the hands)—rather than touching elbows, which looks a little bit combative!

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      • Steve Nygren

        Steve Nygren

        Founder and CEO, Serenbe

        Be prepared to see entirely new planned communities pop up that are built with the intention of balancing the demand for open space with the need for urban amenities.

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      • Sheryl Palmer

        Sheryl Palmer

        CEO and chair, Taylor Morrison Home Corporation

        ‘Healthy homes’ will become increasingly prevalent as we are more aware of the way diseases are transmitted.

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      • Steve Presley

        Steve Presley

        Chairman and CEO, Nestlé USA

        I think the increase in people eating at home will be one of the behaviors that sticks with us.

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      • Minouche Shafik

        Minouche Shafik

        Director, London School of Economics

        I see three connected trends accelerated by the global coronavirus crisis—localization, digitalization, and socialization of risks.

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      • Emmalyn Shaw

        Emmalyn Shaw

        Managing partner, Flourish Ventures

        We’re seeing consumers move away from incumbent financial institutions in favor of challenger players that offer a faster pace of innovation, superior customer experience, and better affordability of service—particularly as we move toward a “no touch” economy.

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      • Brooks Tingle

        Brooks Tingle

        CEO & President, John Hancock Insurance

        As a result of the pandemic, I think life insurance will become dramatically easier to buy.

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      • Sola Yomi-Ajayi

        Sola Yomi-Ajayi

        CEO, United Bank for Africa, America

        In five years’ time, our lives will be dominated by technology. The future is technology.

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    • food

      • Soren Bjorn

        Soren Bjorn

        President, Driscoll's

        One of the things that we very clearly believe has changed once and for all is online grocery shopping.

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      • Jennifer Hill Booker

        Jennifer Hill Booker

        Chef

        My mission in a post-Covid world is to have my extended family not so extended.

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      • David Lee

        David Lee

        CFO, Impossible Foods

        The age-old technology of using animals for meat will continue to be replaced by more capable, efficient, and safer technologies like plant-based meat. 

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    • Government & nonprofit

      • Anousheh Ansari

        Anousheh Ansari

        CEO, XPRIZE

        Meetings, doctor visits, even regular phone calls will benefit from massive advancements in VR/AR technologies.

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      • Kathy Baughman McLeod

        Kathy Baughman McLeod

        Director, Adrienne Arsht–Rockefeller Foundation Resilience Center

        While there is consensus that the coronavirus crisis has increased awareness of the many connections between climate and health, I predict that in five years, it will have set us back in tackling one of the major public health emergencies of our time: extreme heat.

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      • Ian Bremmer

        Ian Bremmer

        President, Eurasia Group

        One thing we can bet on is much more inequality… and coronavirus will play a significant part in that.

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      • William Frey

        William Frey

        Senior Fellow, Metropolitan Policy Program, The Brookings Institution

        The political clout these generations will generate should lead to more focused attention on racial justice and calls for greater government intervention toward reducing racial inequalities of all types.

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      • John Goodwin

        John Goodwin

        CEO, the LEGO Foundation

        This catalytic moment offers us a unique opportunity to reimagine how students learn and, in turn, adjust our education systems and models for the future.

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      • Zia Khan

        Zia Khan

        Senior vice president of innovation, The Rockefeller Foundation

        Over the next five years, citizens will demand that the government set the goals for AI’s impact on society, but policymakers and technology companies will recognize that governments’ regulatory toolkit is ill-suited to the speed of AI development and the exponential growth of its applications in society.

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      • Ai-jen Poo

        Ai-jen Poo

        Director, National Domestic Workers Alliance

        The pandemic (hopefully) has given us urgency to value and protect low-wage work in America in a whole new way.

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      • Margrethe Vestager

        Margrethe Vestager

        Executive vice president, European Commission

        People will have realized that they can work remotely, that they don’t have to commute at least one or two days per week. The digital tools we will have to enable that will improve immensely, and I think we will enjoy it.

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    • Health & Science

      • Satchit Balsari

        Satchit Balsari

        Assistant professor, Global Health and Population, Harvard Chan School of Public Health

        The isolation and extreme hardship that has resulted from… the collective mismanagement of the virus will also result in a reckoning in which millions more will recognize the direct linkages between political participation—or the lack thereof—and its consequences.

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      • Robin Berzin

        Robin Berzin

        Founder, Parsley Health

        In five years, I believe we’ll see a world where we’re both moving faster and more thoughtfully in the field of medicine.

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      • Esther Choo

        Esther Choo

        Associate Professor, Center for Policy & Research in Emergency Medicine, Oregon Health & Science University

        The next five years need to be a time of drastic reengineering of our systems and structures to eliminate health disparities and know that in crisis we have the ability to ensure that resources and care are allocated equitably.

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      • Bill Nye

        Bill Nye

        Science educator and television personality

        With the development of a vaccine in the next five years, enough people will be immune to the Covid-19 virus that people will largely have put this pandemic behind them.

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      • Kate Ryder

        Kate Ryder

        Founder and CEO, Maven Clinic

        Telemedicine will be fundamental to how healthcare is delivered, and it may look different than the telemedicine model we’re familiar with today.

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    • media

      • Yolanda Edwards

        Yolanda Edwards

        Founder, Yolo Journal

        The way in which we travel, and think about traveling, has changed, and I’m sure this will be long-term.

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      • Ben Ehrenreich

        Ben Ehrenreich

        Journalist and author of Desert Notebooks: A Road Map for the End of Time

        In just its first few weeks, the pandemic—and even the wealthiest governments’ failure to respond to it—made all the fault lines, injustices, and inequalities that define our societies impossible to ignore.

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      • Cindy Gallop

        Cindy Gallop

        Founder and CEO, MakeLoveNotPorn

        We are going to bring our values to bear on who deserves to be enriched, because of how much they have enriched us all through their work and their care when nothing else mattered.

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      • Bill McKibben

        Bill McKibben

        Author, educator, and activist

        I think the world’s major cities will be far more bikeable—and as a result there will be lots more people biking.

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      • P.W. Singer

        P.W. Singer

        Author of Burn-In: A Novel of the REAL Robotic Revolution

        The forces of AI and automation will be drastically sped up by the response to the pandemic.

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    • tech

      • Tim Berners-Lee

        Tim Berners-Lee

        Founder, World Wide Web; founding director, World Wide Web Foundation; CTO, Inrupt

        Thinking about my life—be it day-to-day family life, my work, my music, my play, my volunteering with organizations—it’s all, in fact, data. It is data I control. It all connects together.

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      • Amanda Bradford

        Amanda Bradford

        Co-founder and CEO, The League

        In five years, people will prefer to meet online first before meeting in person.

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      • Karen Chupka

        Karen Chupka

        EVP, CES

        One of the things all this experimentation has led to is that people will be willing to try new things.

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      • Harley Finkelstein

        Harley Finkelstein

        Chief operating officer, Shopify

        In many ways, social distancing and stay-at-home orders have leveled the playing field for business owners.

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      • Jason Fried

        Jason Fried

        Co-founder and CEO, Basecamp

         I think we’ll settle back into our patterns.

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      • Tricia Wang

        Tricia Wang

        Co-founder, Sudden Compass

        We will no longer rely on governments or markets alone to take care of us. Instead we will rely on ground-up, hyperlocal neighborhood networks to get stuff done in times of crisis.

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