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Losing our brains with disruptive technologies (XXVI): Society isolated. Benefits and issues beyond the COVID19 quarantine

Have a beautiful day. Aujourd´hui nous allons continuer. Let´s see where we stand up:

  1. Antecedents or Preliminary Background of the Coronavirus. Done last Friday 20th of March. √
  2. The shape of this viral infectious disease. Done on the 23th of March.√
  3. Effects when lacking preparedness (concerning an uncertain pandemic). Done yesterday. √
  4. Society isolated.  Benefits and Issues.Today´s case. √
  5. The global economy and its bemols when it comes to health contagion.
  6. Disruptive technologies and methodologies applied to attack the sickness. Different approaches. Pros and Cons.
  7. How to keep going when in times of a pandemic.

blind o1 closeupToday we will share with you some reflections about what is the meaning of living in isolation, under quarantine, just with the internet and technologies around us.  My reflections are triggered by the current quarantine crisis provoked by the COVID19. But I have extended them to a general broad view. Again, please I beg you to put yourself on my shoes, we all are under a COVID19 stressful epoch. I share with all of you the same condition: we are under a “safer stay at home order” for maybe 14 days (for some countries that is the case), for other nations, the seclusion order is 21 days, and for the majority (that is my case), we are under 30 days of isolation. And I am sure each government has deployed its own plan (with different phases) to attack the contagion and protect its citizens.

This “isolation” solution seems to have worked well for Wuhan, since we are already informed that this community is “petit a petit” establishing its way back to “normal”. In comparison to Wuhan, in which the virus propagation was from inside out to other Chinese provinces; in El Salvador, the situation was different. The strategy here was to stop the virus from outside in. My country decided on a lockdown general decree (with some industries exception) last week. We hope that we were “on time” to settle our “preventive” measures to the maximum, to attack the virus contagion at its origins.

Blind 04 closeupEl Salvador Quarantine. The quarantine here has been established for 30 days. The country is following all the WHO sanitary measures of protection with masks, gloves and the duty of cleaning hands constantly; there is an order of social distancing, restriction of transit for the majority with some industry exceptions. Moreover,  just one member per family can go out to replenish basic provisions at a maximum of 2 days per week. The airport and air traveling were shut down completely (with no exclusions). High-security measures to “don´t let in anyone get into the perimeter of the territory have been established”. If people don´t respect this order, they are sent to specific seclusion centers of different nature (from a range of hotels to shelters) where the government has medical teams to observe and procure the basic needs for the quarantined. In addition, a Coronavirus hospital will be built in the location of our Center of Conventions. The bottom line of this strategy is to stop the virus to enter our territory and to handle those who are popping up with the sickness with the right attention and aid. Anticipation was the motto. With the limited resources that we have (which are extremely restrained from the point of view of medical facilities and equipment), our Government has promised a  basic alimony of $300 dollars/month for all who have been affected by the shutdown directly. How does our government provide the funds for this strategy? The Ministry of Fiscal Affairs is requesting a USD$2 billion (2,000 million dollars) as a budget to pay all these emergency measures. From where are they going to get this money? Still not sure.

As a result, I am one of the thousands of people here who are secluded at home.

Solitude is the state or quality of being alone or remote to others. When isolation to contain a virus contagion is the remedy to cure a pandemic, the state of solitude has its benefits and its disadvantages. I am sure more we have started to experience them.


  • blind 02 closeupTo be isolated means to stop social interaction with others (with exception to a family that interacts with us at home). The capacity to see, speak, touch and stay in direct contact with others (with exception of the family) is nullified. That provides the opportunity to dedicate time (in quality and quantity) to those living with you. Or with your pet if living alone.
  • Traffic is reduced. The need for using local transportation (bus, train, cars, taxis) is gone. Cities traffic halts and people can see the beauty to go out and use the transportation infrastructure (streets, highways, metros, sidewalks) with efficiency and speed. The municipal job to clean the streets against the virus, is reflected in the polished status of them. If people don´t use the transportation infrastructure, there is less utilization, preventing dirt and maintenance expenses to clean them.
  • No overcrowding in public places. People don´t use parks, train or bus stations, neither any facility where people get together to buy, to sell, to entertain themselves, to eat in restaurants, to promenade, etc.  Sports´ facilities are useless. Cities are completely deserted.
  • No gasoline pollution. Cars are staying with us at home. The excessive utilization of the public transportation system propelled with gas disappears. The cities are clean from CO2 contamination. The air oxygen quality improves at its best.
  • Savings increase: if people only spend money in what is required (pay the rent, buy food and essential need items), your salary stays in the pocket for more time, and you are able to save more money month by month. The fact that you go out daily when you commute to work, or when you to to the mall, or when you attend the gym or eat out in restaurants is not there anymore. In consequence, you don´t spend on those items.
  • Work from home culture is fostered. There is a much relaxed situation to work from home. You don´t have to get ready (you can work in pajamas), unless you will be on a conference call with your teams and colleagues.
  • The internet is the winner.  As a tool that helps you to be connected and do things without mobilizing outside your place. We are forced to learn “stay at home activities”. The internet at home demands a new mental frame. It is not easy to get used to educate on line, to exercise or realize work-outs with a screen in front of you, to practice art watching youtube videos, to use the internet platforms to pay your bills, etc. The Internet facilitates many platforms and applications to make all the latter activities from your computer or your smartphone. At the moment these platforms are free, but with the increase of the demand, the internet economy premises will be deployed (pay for them directly or if at no cost, other companies will pay the platforms with advertising ).
  • On-line industries will be strengthened. The Amazon model of life will reign over our lives. The concept of “stay at home” triggers the creation or enhancement and specialization of specific business industries, such as logistics, delivery, on-line education, on-line sports, financial tech transactions, e-banking at full potential, etc.


  • Blind 03 closeupLack of social interaction with others beyond your family creates selfishness, ostracism, and lack of solidarity. In addition, your personality is hidden under twitter, WhatsApp, Facebook or Instagram and the rest of social media applications. People show only what they want to show, and reality is blurred. There is an abundance of fake news instead of reality.
  • An anarchy soil for rebellion to traditional social rules. Social situations influence our behavior through rules, roles, and norms established by the society or a group to which we belong. If societal experiences are shut down, humans do not need those traditional interaction rules anymore, creating an anarchy culture for lack of respect to the rules-norms and roles pre-established socially.  For example, the rule of no smoking or no gum chewing in class can be totally dismissed at home, wherein the privacy of your space, you can rebel against them every day. The established protocols that you used to obey when in social interactions with others, are simply removed.
  • The roles of authority and communication with others are shaken. The roles available to us are determined by where and how we live and work. The fact to live in a “prison at home” shakes the fundamentals of our social roles. The roles at home can be confusing and upsetting if they call conflicting behaviors. For example, a dominant executive leader who is used to be bossy and authoritative with employees all day is used to leave that role after 6 pm when he switches his personality at his home arrival. At home, this leader is expected to be warm and nurturing with his family. By working from home both roles (boss and father) can cause function strains, lack of privacy and separation between work and blood relatives, not to mention stress with the family too.  I foresee a lot of divorces after this confinement health crisis.
  • New wrong role models within generation X and millennial parents will be forced to build “on fast track mood”. Kids on isolation will have fewer role models from outside and will need to learn them at home from their parents. If parents’ role models are dysfunctional, or there exists domestic violence, parents will offer incorrect clues about how to function to children, and kids will be damaged and won´t effectively learn what is correct in various situations in society. If parents are lazy, dirty and destructive; kids will learn that on a daily basis too.
  • Living in prison inside “our own jails”: Even though transit and traffic will be more manageable, the “stay at home” strategy can´t be beneficial for the long term. Just ask the prisoners who live in “beautiful jails”. Even if w have internet, a nice room and food and shelter, to live in confinement is to live in prison. A “stay at home safer strategy” is simply a remedy for extreme and temporary situations as a pandemic. It is not a new normal. Prisoners usually behave pathologically, passively resigning themselves to their unexpected fate or learned helplessness. In addition, the role of the prison guards (security forces from the government)  may be aggressive with authoritarian performance, sometimes even sadistically, because the figure of power gets into their heads. Even the nicest person, when becoming a “guard” can become nasty towards the helpless.
  • The disappearance of entertainment and recreation public experiences is evident. Our recreation beloved places are forbidden. Such as museums, cinemas, parks, sports infrastructure for every discipline, restaurants, coffee-shops, bars, discotheques, large event venues through conferences in places as hotels, religious gatherings, etc
  • Tourism, Hospitality and traveling industries collapse at its roots: The whole traveling value chain is erased. If people don´t travel, hotels and air flight industries will break. But those are not the most affected of all, but the millions of small and medium enterprises that belong to tourism such as tour operators, hospitality services around the traveling experiences, food chain retailers and local shops that depend on the tourists for survival.
  • Retail Business is wiped out: brick and mortar retailers are already an example of the internet economy disruption, but the solitude economy affects also public markets, personal care businesses (barbers, manicurists, beauty salons, makeup artists, personal trainers, gyms in between other small retailers).
  • Art facilities are banned. The purpose of educational art centers where people interact to learn artistic disciplines which only can be performed in groups such as ballet, music in bands or orchestras, theater oeuvres, etc) will disappear.
  • The education industry is also completely questioned. The interaction between students in the classroom is banished. The concept of learning in isolation creates the destruction of the social school and the differentiation between groups of different nature. The ritual of belonging is substituted by the ritual of sharing through WhatsApp or social media.  The flux of information doesn´t stop, but fake information abounds. When people don´t talk neither do things together, their expectations are settled for less, they learn cheap common perspectives and biased concepts. The lack of different and real reference groups denies aspirational goals, and nonconformism that ignites entrepreneurship might be affected. My beloved printed books will disappear forever, causing blindness as our next plague in the future.
  • The solitude economy may trigger irrational mindless leaders. The emergence of despotic careless leaders is around the corner. They can use masses connected by technology who will unquestioningly be loyal to their evil ideologies. What could happen if a new Hitler arises during this physical isolation and social media times: How does a social media Hitler can use propaganda and persuasive communication to gather ignorant masses? Blind obedience to an evil leader through the internet can create harm…
  • The excess of internet technologies that produce home confinement is like being a prisoner in our own jails. Ask any psychologist about this to confirm it.

Don´t confuse a health quarantine with a new normal. Solitude is really bad for human beings. An isolation period of time as a normal has more disadvantages than benefits.  We all have been forced to stay at home because it is needed for a prudential quarantine number of days.  And this is a transitory measure, particularly for societies that are unprepared to bear the consequences of an epidemic. But remember this is just temporarily. Just for some weeks, to keep the spread of the contagion that will kill the elders alive. It is just a rite of passage that I pray to be over soon.

Blessings, see you tomorrow.

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