Before the coronavirus pandemic, concerns were raised from time to time about over-reliance on the virtual world. People risked turning into recluses, warned researchers - apps for groceries, takeaway meals, clothing companies, dry-cleaning services and Amazon meant internet users were becoming anti-social.
Convenient though home delivery was, freeing up time for other activities, there were potential consequences for mental health. Those studying the shut-in economy, as it's called, said people were suffering from isolation and depression.
Delivery staff were invisible worker bees as they dropped off and picked up - faceless to users. This method of service could not be compared with the bread vans and milk floats of previous eras, where customers were greeted by name and social exchanges took place.
Undeniably, the internet is a useful tool. Many of us are reliant on it to order what we need to survive, stay entertained and engage with family, friends and co-workers during these troubled times. But there will be a price to pay.
Human interaction is already starting to vanish from many people's lives. What's replacing it is too impersonal for wellbeing - our lives are being virtualised. Yesterday, I chatted by phone to someone who said she hadn't spoken to another human being for a week.
This virtualisation process, necessary during lockdown, is a reminder of how valuable is human contact. Hermiting is all very well for a time but group activities make us feel better. All of us gain from casual conversations by the water cooler, on public transport with strangers or queuing alongside one another in the post office. The material world is hard to beat.
Some of us may have fantasised in the past about doing a Robinson Crusoe (with an endless supply of books, Netflix and our favourite foods) - and now we can, except we mightn't like it as much as expected. There is only so much Netflix anyone can watch.
When the home space co-exists with teleworking, it becomes harder to maintain our work-life balance, as one leaches into the other. Parents who must use the home space not just to work but educate their children face additional challenges.
So, surreal is the new real. The world has changed radically in a matter of days and we have no choice but to adapt to a hands-off lifestyle. This is not just a temporary disruption with normal service likely to resume soon. It may never be 'normal' again.
Currently, social distancing is our best friend and needs to be practised - even on Mother's Day tomorrow. Changes are happening in the way we live, work, socialise, shop, access education, exercise and interact with one another and some of these changes will be long term, even after the virus is no longer a threat.
We have learned we can no longer take for granted going to cafés, pubs, cinemas, libraries, shopping centres, museums, art galleries, schools, universities, sports venues, nightclubs, restaurants, hotels, theatres, drop-in centres and gyms.
If such venues reopen, they may have crowd control restrictions and there is talk of temperature scanners at entrances. When this pandemic passes and the world is recognisable again, there will be increased surveillance. That's something we can count on, unfortunately.
Meanwhile, job losses are happening. Social Protection Minister Regina Doherty says it could be as many as a "drastic" 400,000 workers. How many companies letting go of staff will re-employ them - or use this as an excuse for a cost-cutting exercise? Will they try to replace permanent staff with contractors? Employers must draw from their own labour pool when they hire again.
Small businesses will need grants to help them to survive. Perhaps workplace legislation could stipulate that length of service isn't broken during enforced layoffs.
Will there be new taxes to pay for all of this disruption? A mini-budget?
Will healthcare expand back into the community rather than group into centres of excellence? Will private hospitals be taken into the public health system to help cope with Covid-19 cases?
Will we ever really return to cash? Shops are increasingly reluctant to handle money and many have signs up asking for plastic transactions.
Workplace practices will have to change. We can expect meetings to be held in larger rooms with fewer seats, as was apparent in a depleted Dáil on Thursday night when emergency legislation was passed, with a broad range of powers voted to the caretaker administration.
This is a national government in all but name - except the ministries aren't shared out among other parties. Effectively, Sinn Féin and Fianna Fáil are part of a confidence-and-supply arrangement with Fine Gael. Such a situation will continue until the middle of the summer at least, possibly even the autumn.
It's worth remembering vaccines are being researched and trialled. Phase one trials on one possible vaccine are being carried out in the US but the scientists are dealing with experimental material never used before on this scale - it may not work. A more conventional vaccine could take anything from a year to 18 months. Sooner or later, though, one will be found.
And there are heartening stories amid the gloom. Some 30,000-plus healthcare workers have responded to the HSE recruitment drive, 'Be on call for Ireland'. A gin factory in Louth, Listoke Distillery in Tenure, has switched to making hand sanitisers - "thinking outside the box", as co-founder Bronagh Conlon told Newstalk this week.
Let's not forget the other workers keeping things ticking over, from postal staff to cleaners, bus and train drivers, those working in food processing and supermarkets. Often these people are paid low wages yet are going out to work day after day, playing their part without complaint during the emergency. Let's make sure they receive a decent level of remuneration for their services.
The lockdown is socially isolating, and all the help and compassion we can give to one another matters a great deal. It's heartening to see groups of volunteers band together in communities and run errands for elderly citizens. Others need assistance, too - for example, single parents.
There may be some positives from these testing months, such as an increasing reliance on shopping locally, walking and cycling more and burning less carbon.
And is it possible this experience of the shut-in economy will stop some in their tracks from moving wholesale to the virtual world? We know what we're missing out on now.
It's always useful to have the opportunity to download books, films and music. But the lockdown is a reminder of how uplifting it can feel to go to the cinema and watch a film, listen to live music and mooch around the library or a bookshop.
Finally, we're all in this together. Stay safe.