The Techlash After COVID-19

National Review

The technology industry’s rapid response to the COVID-19 pandemic has renewed appreciation for platforms and tools like Facebook and Zoom and given advocates a triumphant narrative to trumpet. But the “techlash” is far from over. COVID-19 and its long-term fallout may mark only the beginning, not the end, of heightened scrutiny of tech.

The argument that the tech industry cannot deliver tangible innovations, is momentarily on pause. During the current COVID-19 shutdown, tech companies big and small have made it possible for a considerable portion of the workforce to become fully-remote in a way unimaginable even 15 years ago, let alone during the 1960s. Gig-economy jobs are the only lifeline serving the skeletal remains of the restaurant and broader service industry. For many locked-in city-dwellers, an Amazon Prime membership, Netflix subscription, and the local Amazon-owned Whole Foods are the only stable features of their lives.

Likely a result of these initiatives, polling indicates that Americans are beginning to hold more positive views of the tech industry since the start of the crisis. However, ordinary Americans’ gratitude for the tech industry is unlikely to assuage elite concerns. The current COVID-19 shutdown and forthcoming recovery will deepen, not arrest, the trends driving the techlash….

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