Advent of a surrogate economy

The fear that the COVID-19 pandemic has instilled into the human brain stems from the sentiment that “this can happen again.” A high possibility of repeated occurrences adds to the fear. Therefore, the current situation where digitization has intertwined the whole world tightly into a network is not very likely to continue. However, the major premise of transition into a digital economy is still valid.

Although it is human nature to try to get satisfaction from face-to-face (contact) exchanges, desire for non-face-to-face (“untact”) exchanges will rise dramatically to overcome the fear that has become a routine. “Untact” services enabled on digital platforms will dominate our daily life. This phenomenon will be accelerated not only in our daily life as consumers but also in production activities.

Ironically, efforts to minimize contact surfaces and maintain social distancing will augment the instinctive desire for contact exchanges. Hence, a number of solutions for satisfying the desire for face-to-face activities while ensuring biological survival are expected to be churned out. Advances in AI-based technologies that technically augment understanding of individuals, including AR and VR, will bring “untact exchanges that feel like contact exchanges” into the mainstream.

After this pandemic is over, “untact exchanges” will spread into areas where the focus used to be on contact activities, in other words, education, medical services, and cultural and community activities. In economic activities, “untact collaboration” may hit the mainstream, accelerating transition into digital economy. It will also lead to the advent of new services and business models as well as ultimately result in the disruption of existing supply chains.

2020 K.E.Y Platform will address short-term forecasts on economic recovery and outlooks on changes in international order after the pandemonium. We will not stop here but seize the areas that present opportunities amid post-pandemonium upheavals, based on new imagination.