In 1889, Jules Verne predicted that the “phonotelephote” — essentially a dedicated videoconferencing device that he imagined would become commonplace by the year 2889 (!) — would make business travel obsolete. We didn’t have to wait a thousand years. Videoconferencing became a real technology in 1968 with AT&T’s “Picturephone.” The advent of Skype and other videoconferencing technologies in the mid-2000s brought phonotelephotes into every home that had access to a decent internet connection.
Each new advance in remote teleconferencing capacity is accompanied by renewed predictions of the demise of business travel. Yet the fact is that, at least until the…
Did you find yourself drinking too much during Covid shutdown? You’re not alone. Well, metaphorically at least. From mid-March to mid-May 2020, during the initial phase of the pandemic, alcohol sales around the world skyrocketed, increasing anywhere from 40% to 60% over pre-pandemic levels, with distilled liquor sales increasing more rapidly than sales of wine and beer. Some analysts argued that this retail surge merely reflected a shift from drinking at bars and restaurants to imbibing at home, but this in itself is a serious concern.
Distinguished University Scholar and Professor of Philosophy at UBC, author of Drunk: How We Sipped, Danced and Stumbled Our Way to Civilization (June 2021)