The pandemic techno-future that wasn’t

Exactly six months ago today, while Americans were still conflating Corona beer with coronavirus, I found myself suddenly, guiltily, free. It was March 15, and my governor, New York’s Andrew Cuomo, had just asked all businesses in the state to voluntarily close to stop the spread of COVID-19; five days later, the order would be mandatory for non-essential businesses, and additionally ban gatherings of any size for any reason. As a citizen, I was terrified; as an introvert, though, I confess I was giddy about the excuse-free cancelation of all foreseeable plans and obligations.

For some, though, the past half year has accelerated the nightmare that science-fiction has been warning about for decades: the future in which we work virtually, go to school virtually, have virtual movie nights and happy hours and concerts and gym sessions and church services, even date virtually.


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