Opening Keynote – Future Perspectives of Human Interactions with and after COVID-19

ONLINE 12/15/2020 13:30 - 14:00

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Juichi Yamagiwa



From a point of view as a primatologist, our society consists of three features unique to humans, such as free mobility, free gathering, and free interaction. However, the recent pandemic caused by Covid-19 has prevented us from enjoying these freedoms.

International congresses is a typical example of this bad effect. Instead, we organize every meeting through online systems at present, to prevent the spread of the infection. In fact, we have found online meetings to be less costly and more efficient than ever. But we should not give up gathering but incorporate face-to-face interactions at any meeting. Mutual trust is essential to liven up discussions and reach consensus. It is difficult to build trust online, and reliable relationship needs face-to-face interaction with adequate time.

From the results of primatology, human brain has increased in size with increasing group size (social brain hypothesis), and our brain size is comparable to about 150 people consisting of smaller groups with different types of communication. We call them “social capital” with trust. I propose the importance of subcommittee in small size at the international congress with ICT by a combination of online and face-to-face interactions after Covid-19.

Also, I emphasize that we should now “think locally, act globally”, instead of “think globally, act locally”. We have already built international platforms at any place in the world and have gradually lost culture rooted in the various areas. Digital transformation has forced us to informatize and homogenize everything, but the diversity and uniqueness of culture will create innovation. We should not lose the property of cultural diversity, and MICE should save this asset at any event.