The Shift Towards A Contactless Society

Woman uses a contactless checkin terminal at airport

Now Even Hotels Don’t Want To See Your Face

I recently booked a Hilton hotel room for a trip, and was quickly prompted to download their app and get a digital key. There wouldn’t even be a need to stop by the front desk. Digital key, check-in, check-out…no humans. I didn’t view this as bad necessarily, but I’m not so sure it’s good either. It is however another move in the direction of a contactless society.

Faceless, Contactless Travel

Now, we can get on a plane, rent a car, and get into a hotel room without ever having to speak to a living soul. About the only place you’ll encounter other humans is on the plane. Even there the contactless mentality continues, as fellow passengers adorn their neck pillows, ear buds, and eye masks to slip into their own semi-conscious, contactless world through the duration of the flight.

Humans are Barely Needed for Food

You can order your pizza online, and robots will deliver it. Most restaurants have adopted some form of drive up or delivery system to ensure you remain as contactless as possible. Even grocery shopping has become impersonal, as you can order your groceries in advance and have them dropped into the back of your car with barely a wave from the grocery attendant. As far as we know, food is still prepared by humans…for now.

Amazon is King of Contactless

Of course Amazon set the bar with regards to shopping in general, eliminating the need to visit your local stores for anything. Some things moved to an online, contactless format years ago. No more standing in line for contact tickets for example, or hanging out at Best Buy on Thanksgiving to be first for the Black Friday deals. Just do it at home, contactless.

doctor uses telemedicine to speak contactless to a patient over the computer.

Contactless Medical Care

You’d think that at least your doctor will provide some face-to-face human contact, but no. When possible and practical, medical professionals may resort to contactless remote exams to try and get you through your latest ailment. Granted, in our pandemic era, this isn’t always a bad thing.

Speaking of the pandemic, we learned quickly that jobs, schools, and churches can all function, at least in part, in a contactless society. We are also learning that it isn’t always the best thing either. In fact, I’m not necessarily complaining or knocking any of it, rather I’m just stating facts and putting it out there. We have become a contactless society.

What’s Next?

If we are going to move in this direction, perhaps we can work a little harder and making the more unpleasant tasks contactless. How about vehicle registration or the DMV? They have some online features, but let’s go all the way with automated vehicle inspection too.

In fact, why stop there? Why don’t we just go full Logans Run and start eliminating us baby boomers and older that crave or require actual human contact?

Boomers are Just as Guilty

What is surprising lately is how even us Boomers are choosing the contactless route. Why make a phone call and get rattled around some company’s IVR system when we can use their app instead? Or maybe we’ll just post a question to their Social Media page and hope that the youngster in charge of said company’s Social Media account has a clue.

The Pandemic Took Contactless to the Next Level

The slow shift towards a contactless society suddenly became a raging landslide when COVID arrived. The big question is; how much of it, if any will return to “normal”. Of course normal has different relevance to each person. I’m certainly not abandoning my Amazon account, but I’ve yet to acquiesce to curb side service of any kind.

Conclusion

Even after the pandemic ends, some things will never go back to normal, and in fact there will be a new normal. Stores, restaurants, and hotels will retain some of their contactless behaviors as a competitive edge, while others will retain them as cost saving measures.

Buffets may be gone forever, or be extremely rare. Masks on airplanes may be around a long time as well. The vaccine / flu shot cycle will increase as the population becomes more accepting of both. Eventually that will move towards some form of electronic tracking. and those that are concerned that the vaccine is the mark of the beast will finally have real concern.

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