Zero Human Interaction – cold efficiency?

Durre Shehwar Ali, 2020





“Just like we are worried about an economic recession, we should worry about a social recession—a continued pattern of distancing socially, beyond the immediate pandemic, that will have broader societal effects, particularly for the vulnerable." 

Psychologist- Holt-Lunstad 

Restaurants and food service establishments have been an integral part of our society's fabric and are considered a socializing center. The dining industry has been constantly evolving in terms of efficiency, and technology is a driving force among this, each one changes the rules of communication and rearranges social order (Laing, 2016).  The project explores such changes regarding the 'social' aspects of eating out, focusing mainly on technology and design affecting social dynamics in the long run. I also argue that some dining innovations advanced by designers, technologists, and entrepreneurs often suffer from technological solutionism's biases—the techno-deterministic belief that technological interventions can resolve social problems (Dobbins, 2009; Morozov, 2013).

Pandemic- a shift in perspective 

The world suddenly faced a global crisis, the rate of change of at least a year compressed into a few months, speeding up the adoption rate for new systems and ways of working. Since the beginning of the pandemic, this project has gained further relevance in contemporary time as restaurants, and foodservice businesses were some of the first economic activities severely impacted by the COVID-19. The pandemic has provided this project with a unique and unexpected opportunity which would not have been available in a non-crisis situation. Hence the project treats the pandemic as an intrinsic case study. Due to the novelty of the situation, investigations are still on the way, making it essential for researchers and designers to contribute within their fields. Inevitably, such a crisis will leave an enormous impact on how we consume, how we learn, and how we socialize and communicate. Hence the aim of further research (in a doctoral) now concentrates on contributing to academic research amid the global crisis by recording the change and the rate of change that the dining industries undergo and provide literature in the field. Following the rising trends and collecting a historical study of how the dining industry transits through this extraordinary situation and evaluating what changes stay after the pandemic.

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