In Real Life
We call it IRL “In Real Life” in the tech sector. IRL is the opposite of the virtual reality/online worlds that we have been reading about in science fiction and slowly building over the past three decades.
I have heard a number of people assert that this pandemic, when we are staying home and working, learning, and playing online, will rapidly increase our comfort with and usage of the virtual world.
I beg to differ. I think this pandemic is showing all of us how much we crave being in real life.
After five weeks of total and complete self isolation in our home, the Gotham Gal and I started inviting another couple over for a socially distant cocktail this week. They come and go via our driveway, we sit in the back yard, separated by ten feet. I serve drinks in latex gloves. We talk. After an hour or two, they depart the same way and we wash everything up in warm soapy water and then have dinner back in our self isolation.
It has made a big difference to our frame of mind.
In person social interaction is the core of being human and I think this pandemic is reminding all of us how vitally important that is.
The tech sector will continue to build virtual worlds and online experiences. We will continue to use them, some more than others. They are valuable, efficient, convenient, and entertaining. But they can not and will not replace in real life experiences. This pandemic has shown me that in spades.