CORONA! YOU’VE STOPPED THE WORLD.
We are living in exceptional, unique, unprecedented, improbable, and rough times, in which thousands of compatriots have lost their lives fighting an invisible enemy, my thoughts are with you and your families.
Many voices were pointing to the fact that in 2020 an economic crisis or a period of recession would begin. You will have seen or read warnings from the great leaders in which “clouds on the horizon” could be seen, as expressed by the director of the international monetary fund.
Well, we are in a storm, and the difference is that nobody predicted what the real cause of this economic crisis would be, for everyone it has been an unexpected event, in less than ten days the world has been turned upside down and on pause, we stopped it before the virus stopped us and everything has happened at breakneck speed.
Covid-19 was not in anyone’s plans; these are the kind of surprise or unexpected events that in the management world are called “Black Swans”; this is a swan-like the top of a pine tree, no similar event would fit this definition.
It is not fair to compare it to a war, or a pandemic like a plague, we are far from those historical periods when our tools were different; that we spend a period of time confined to our homes has no comparison with the suffering and panic of the generations that lived through those adverse events.
But without a doubt, it is an exceptional situation, and the most worrying, unprecedented, in which there is pinching, on the one hand, there is a crisis of demand, and on the other hand, there is a crisis of supply since partially the production is stopped, and the distribution, we have had to stop everything, in unison. Literally, the world has stopped practically at once.
In your companies, you will surely have participated in the definition of risk plans, in which internal risks such as those that fall within your scope, and external risks such as those that may come about due to causes beyond your control, are taken into account.
Within the technological world, it is estimated that the possibility of an earthquake destroying a data center where you install your servers, a power failure, the Monsoon in India and the Internet falling in the middle of a delivery, corruption of the elements of the databases, or other malicious viruses attacking the machines that manage our communications, all these facts are considered “Black Swans” that in case of unexpected emergency, trigger the urgent action plans and activate contingency plans.
No matter how well you think about it, or how much you develop your imagination to define or foresee those risks, there are always going to be unexpected surprises; these are the unplanned risks.
Within the whirlwind that we are experiencing in our companies, I will not talk about business strategy advice for the coming months, I understand that we are all on the same line, to ensure the treasury, take care of the customer and serve your team, encapsulating these three vectors, with strength, flexibility, and adaptability.
I would like to take the reflection a little further from the URGENT and think aloud about the IMPORTANT, the risks that come to us in the coming years, those that are known, those that have a date, those that if we do not take action in time, will impact on the lives of all, I mean the digital revolution and the climate crisis.
Honestly, I do not dare to give an opinion on whether this unexpected event of the Coronavirus will change the world or not, or if it will change people and their relationships, I do not know so many things to be able to offer a well-formed opinion that takes into account all the variables, I know a little bit about technology, some management, and strategy, and I inform myself a lot at a technical level about climate change, then here I leave you with my reflection on what I do understand and is within my reach.
Ultra-accelerating the digital revolution, we embrace an Orwellian world without complexes.
To illustrate this, we are hitting the fast-forward button of the so-called technological revolution several times.
It is not going to be because of the recent discovery of teleworking by millions of companies and employees, nor because of the excessive use of video call software such as Zoom, nor because of the explosion of webinars as a marketing vehicle, nor is it going to be because your brother-in-law has made his first purchase at Amazon or because your mother-in-law has discovered aerobics with Youtube videos.
The ultra-acceleration is going to come because the biggest problem or “stopper” in the technological world, the dilemma between freedom and privacy, is being “solved at once”. Governments and multinationals have already decided for you and without consultation, they have taken the street of the middle.
In the United States, Apple and Google are teaming up to develop technology to track down the infected, in Europe the position of every citizen within the quarantine is geolocated. In China the drones are directly chasing 90-year-old women who are going to buy bread on the street, all the great technological debates that should have happened in the next 5 years have been resolved in a matter of 2 weeks, and nobody has asked us.
This express opening to the access of the big data of the citizens by the governments and companies enables a substantial and global acceleration of the processes of Artificial Intelligence that we already have in place, processes that in the long term will lead us to unimaginable levels of welfare, but in the short and medium-term will cause unprecedented destruction of jobs, in those countries that have not prepared for change.
As a citizen you will ask yourself that to access any web page, the European Union forces you to click on an unbearable banner that says OK, all the more reason now you will be wondering that in all this spectacle, nobody has asked you if you want to give your private data to the government, directly without asking you, they have already taken it and are monitoring it.
For the time being in an “anonymous” way, but the worst thing is that you have found out on TV, on your mobile phone you have not missed any pop up explaining that your data are being used in an “anonymous” way by the government and that please give OK for the general interest of all.
As a citizen I am in favor of giving up my “anonymous” cell phone location data to solve the huge problem we have with Covid-19, I insist on anonymity, not what is being done, and I am not going to get into technicalities, what I am not in favor of is how it is being done.
A very dangerous door has been opened, which is going to be very complicated to manage in the medium term, and which is going to normalize access to and abuse of your data as a citizen, and this is happening in less than two weeks.
Truce of the climate crisis.
In case there are still any skeptics, some who think that the climate crisis is a Chinese story, who try to use reverse psychology right now, if you thought that our economic models were not responsible for the increase in global temperature, think for a minute, maybe you will understand it in a graphic way, the image below is a pollution map of China seen from a NASA satellite.
With the cessation of economic activity (the productive model), the injection of heat into the troposphere ceases. Therefore we cease the forced and unnatural change to which we are leading the planet with our energy model.
And you may ask yourself why is action being taken so quickly in the face of Covid-19? And yet the most important decisions of the century on climate change are irresponsibly and senselessly delayed, in part because of our human inability to think and plan for the long term.
We are understanding and assimilating the urgency of Covid-19 as a one-off event of an extreme emergency that has spread exponentially in a short period of time.
Concerning the climate crisis, we have a sensation of being within a process that we understand as slow, entering into a loop of continuous procrastination, if the planet had consciousness as we do, it would act with the same urgency that we are treating the Covid-19 crisis.
For him, our contaminating productive model is a destructive and passing virus that has not even 50 years of existence, that period for him does not stop being something minuscule, with a retro perspective of more than 4600 million years of life.
We all understand the time frame of the urgency we are experiencing, but none of us understand the time frame to which we are subjecting the planet, there are no more than 10 years left for the consequences of the climate disaster to endanger us as a species, we are not talking at the level of the financial-economic crisis, we would be entering unimaginable scenarios.
The frequency of extreme, severe, and adverse climate phenomena is accelerating exponentially in recent years, understand the dark red bars in the image in which the increase of these phenomena has shot up at the same time as the excessive increase in temperature. And yet we are not acting. We don’t understand EMERGENCY.
More than 10,000 people die every year in our country due to respiratory complications caused by air pollution. Still, you will not hear anyone lamenting the deaths of these citizens; you will not find any politicians taking urgent decisions, stopping the economy of your country, no one is reacting according to the climate EMERGENCY.
If you allow me the simile when you buy an electronic device, you think that programmed obsolescence will come sooner or later, in the current capitalist system, it will work better or worse, but we also understand that every 10 years or so programmed obsolescence comes, that is, an economic crisis, there is a change of cycle or a slowdown, maybe it is not a failure, simply a consequence of previous growth, or maybe it does have a solution, and a thorough revision and reset of the capitalist economic model is needed.
Think that in the decade we have just started between 2020 and 2030, we are facing the most significant challenges of the 21st century, Covid-19 means the trigger of the incipient economic crisis we are facing.
After it will come to the massive unemployment due to the technological revolution, and behind this path at the end of this decade, the planet will take out the bill of what we owe it, all these series of events will happen in the next ten years, here we count on what we know, what we have planned, we do not count on other “Black Swans” that may arise along the way.
To get an idea of the scale factor, it’s been more or less 10 years since the peak of the famous Lehman Brothers crisis, because think that in the next decade we already have three crises planned, not one, for the same period of time.
The economic impact of Coronavirus, as they predict, will be twice as hard as that of Lehman Brothers (2008) and will occur in half the time, but beware, then come the other two, and these will not be “Black Swans”, but the consequences of our inaction, of our irresponsibility.
If anything good can be drawn from this terrible and unjust situation, we are living in which thousands of people have lost their lives unexpectedly and in which thousands of relatives have not even been able to say goodbye.
It is that our leaders are making decisions; they are attending to the URGENCY, they are reacting.
I am not going to get into brotherhoods, or political analysis of captain after the fact about acting before or after, or where to buy the masks, understanding the extraordinary seriousness of the problem, whatever the ideology, and whatever country they come from.
All those who have made decisions and have acted accordingly in an EMERGENCY situation deserve my respect, leaders from all over the world are making extraordinarily difficult decisions in a period of two weeks, and they are acting, they are acting in a coordinated manner, they are acting with a global mentality, they are acting with local implementation measures.
They agree to make the same global decision: STOP THE WORLD TO SAVE LIVES. More or less rightly, sooner or later, but they have all agreed on something, and they have done it in record time.
The positive conclusion of all this misfortune is that we have all developed a kind of global empathy, in which we have the feeling that WE ARE ALL IN THE SAME BOAT.
Let’s start from scratch; extraordinary decisions are being made to solve the URGENT. Still, we are not tackling the IMPORTANT by the international leaders; we are living in difficult times, times of leaders, not of bosses, the significant decisions of the century are coming, in which we must act with courage and haste, let’s take advantage of this refueling to agree on the fundamental, on what unites us all regardless of our race, sex, creed, nationality or social status.
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