Discussion Forums » Topic of the Month

Topic for Mar/Apr 2020 - Coronavirus Situation as an opportunity

    • 102 posts
    March 24, 2020 1:31 PM GMT

    This month we have chosen something very topical that we are of course all involved in. However we want to look at it from a future point of view and how we can use it to change society for the better.

    So the discussion topic and agenda for this month are below.

    We've also added some thought provokers below. Are there any you would like to add?


    Current Coronavirus situation as an opportunity for inspiration

    Today’s Coronavirus Situation will hopefully be short lived but is likely to change society permanently in a number of ways. There are also plenty of examples of creative ideas going on for dealing with the current situation. This is our opportunity to see what ideas we can come up with which would benefit the UK in the long-term as well as short-term. Our retirement experience may well help us here.

    In addition there are parallels in this situation, to the situation we might have to deal with in an Artificial Intelligence Society both initial high disruption of jobs and work and eventually a potential net loss of jobs. There are things we might consider changing or put in place now/soon, to make sure we have a smooth ride.

    By examining both it will hopefully make us think from two directions, hence generating more ideas and also helping us qualify the best ideas as being those that have a long-term as well as short-term relevance and benefit.


    • Are there things that we are now doing that could or should become permanent features of our society? Or ones we definitely don’t want to become permanent?
    • Thinking of our current situation, what could we do that would both advance us (Government, Society and us as individuals) in the short-term and long-term?
    • What are the parallels in the disruptive transition to an AI society? What might it look like (a) if we do nothing (b) if we are willing to change dramatically?
    • What else might we need to put in place for a smooth ride?


    Some thought provokers

    • Will there be a step function increase in those working from home?
    • Will hygiene disciplines be permanently improved?
    • Will stockpiling become the norm?
    • Will ‘final exams’ be scrapped?
    • Will the investment in the NHS be significantly increased?
    • Will we be more thoughtful to our neighbours?
    • Will the way we educate our children change in any way?
    • Will community activity change, with more things being organised on a micro level within communities? 
    • Will the Government provide more finance for such activities? Should it do so?
    • Will we see the introduction of a basic minimum wage?
    • How will all this help with reducing our carbon emissions?
    • Is this the real end of the high street?
    • Will this make online the first choice way of doing everything?
    • Will online meetings with clients become the norm?
    • Will the increased reliance on online make us more vulnerable to cyber-attacks?
    • Will the example of how the medical professionals respond to questions act as an example to politicians and the media?
    • Will Governments ever have sound finances again?
    • Will we now tackle fake news better on the web and do something about ‘trusted sources’?
    • Will social media now be the prime means of organising anything in society?
    • Will we now see the rapid acceleration of AI and robotics to make us less reliant on people?
    • Will we become a much healthier and fitter society through discovering home exercise? Or will we become a much more obese society?
    • Will food home delivery services become the norm (both supermarkets and restaurants)?
    • Will our personal space boundary be increased permanently?
    • Will there be a step function increase in the adoption of technology?
    • Will the performance and availability of the technology improve nation-wide?
    • 102 posts
    April 4, 2020 2:56 PM BST

    The discussion output is now available at:


    It summarises opportunities for the future. Ideas about how to implement those opportunities will be the subject of a further discussion.

    It is the first output of a meeting conducted by videoconferencing rather than face to face.

    • 102 posts
    April 23, 2020 10:37 PM BST

    A second meeting on the topic has added more specific ideas about how some of the possibilities might be realised.

    The document has been updated to include these: