ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) — When will things get back to normal? It’s a question many of us are asking. And will the normal in the future look the same as the past?
News 4’s Investigative Reporter Chris Nagus spoke with a man that predicts the future for a living, to find an answer.
“My job is to expand people’s thinking about what the future holds,” Thomas Frey said.
His title is Senior Futurist at the DaVinci Center in Colorado. An organization with a mission to understand the future of humanity.
The organization looks at current technology and trends to help companies predict what’s next and Frey says the coronavirus pandemic will change all of our futures.
“We are going to be assessing risk with everything we do,” Frey said. “We’re entering the post-normal era.”
He doesn’t have a crystal ball, but he says the sudden societal shake-up will lead to lasting change.
“This is pushing us to do more things virtually,” Frey said.
Think about this. When we know there will be snow in the forecast and with kids getting used to e-learning, will school actually get cancelled for a snow day?
“I think we will see experimenting see if we can eliminate snow days do a lot of things online,” Frey said.
He also predicts a fundamental shake up in the labor force. And believes many will not return to the jobs they were forced out of.
“There’s a lot of people thinking the job is not giving them meaning or purpose they wanted … They have always felt trapped in their position, didn’t want want to stick their neck out,” Frey said. “Perfect opportunity to try something else.”
He thinks self checkouts will grow. And for those that still go through the checkout lane, the newly installed glass partitions might be permanent.
Another unintended consequence how it impacts faith.
“Will more people watch church online? Absolutely,” Frey said. “There’s a lot of despair, a lot of people feeling uncertain. I think this will drive people back to church.”
When it comes to retail, Frey sees major changes. Since so many people are shopping online, stores will need to be creative.
“Going to need a larger entertainment component to it, does Walmart need a trampoline park in the middle of the store to get people in?” Frey said.
In Chesterfield we already see it happening. Part of a newly built outlet mall was already being demolished to add more entertainment before anyone knew about coronavirus. Frey believes the post COVID-19 world means more stores will be mobile as consumers expect things on their doorstep.
“Think of the meat counter at the grocery store coming to your driveway so you can pick out what you want,” Frey said.
Frey thinks people will be hesitant to shake hands moving forward.
And even if the future doesn’t look as futuristic as Frey’s website. He’s certain priorities for most everyone will change.
“The things that were important in the past fall off the edge suddenly, they aren’t important anymore,” Frey said.
And perhaps that looks different for everybody. Frey also believes a lot of people on unemployment will begin doing side jobs that could turn into permanent jobs and because people don’t want to impact the financial benefits they might be receiving, he believes we could see a rise of crypto currency, more cash transactions and even bartering of services.