- Long Term Impact
- The Good Fight
I know, I know, we’ve all heard enough about COVID-19….. However, since we are in the middle of it, now is a good time to think about long-term changes the pandemic is bringing about.
From the massive shift to telecommuting and e-learning, to our awareness of the fragility of the supply lines and the fear that China’s success in quelling the virus will lead to a stronger surveillance state, the societal effects of the coronavirus remain with us long after the virus is controlled.
No one knows when the coronavirus will be contained, but once it is, the world might have changed in significant ways. In the world of technology, it certainly will. There is some indication the world will emerge out of this a better place.
With that in mind, we devote March’s newsletter to how our relationship with technology will be different in a post-coronavirus world.
Long Term Impacts
“Every single pandemic we’ve experienced so far has surprised us in some way,” says demographer, Dr. C. Jessica Metcalf. Pandemics can change the future as much as a global war or economic depression — think of the Spanish flu at the end of World War I or the HIV/AIDS outbreak in the 1980s.
We cannot predict when the coronavirus will end. It is hard enough to predict what it will look like tomorrow.
What we can predict, though, is that some tech-enabled behavioral changes that have occurred during Covid-19, like more companies allowing telecommuting, will remain. The adoption of some technologies used to fight the coronavirus will accelerate, like drones, medical robots and autonomous robots.
Here is a look at how we and others think the coronavirus will leave its legacy on technology.
- The supply chains that provide our goods will have to be reconfigured. From nearshoring to automated factories, SVSG examines The Confusing Post-Virus Future of Global Supply Chains in Techonomy.
- One thing that is sure to continue growing after the coronavirus is the visibility of robots in our daily lives. China even staffed an entire hospital with robots. These robots monitored patients, distributed food and medication, cleaned infected areas, and even danced to entertain patients.
- Another coronavirus-driven shift in medicine is the turn to telemedicine as a way for doctors to screen and treat patients virtually. Doctors call it a “turning point” in virtual medicine.
- Internet of Things technology (IoT) limits contact between infected patients and hospital staff. Its use during the coronavirus will accelerate IoT in healthcare in the years to come.
- Open data and open science — as well as Slack and Twitter — are transforming how scientists study the coronavirus, increasing collaboration and speeding up research.
- The most permanent shift, as it should be the easiest to maintain after the coronavirus is contained, is the shift to telecommuting. Employees will enjoy the benefits of working from home, and businesses will realize productivity remains the same while overhead drops.
- Since cash is seen as a way to spread germs, the coronavirus could make electronic payments more desirable.
- Web traffic in Italy has increased 70% since the country’s quarantine began. The biggest culprit? Online games like Fortnite and Call of Duty. Gaming creates a unique online social space but will it break the internet?
- Thermometer guns, AI, robots and drones: Coronavirus is the first big test for futuristic tech that can prevent pandemics.
- The coronavirus will cause a backlash to globalization. Or maybe it won’t. But maybe it will.
The Good Fight
- MIT released an app that lets you track whether or not you have come in contact with someone with the coronavirus. It’s available for iOS and Android, though still in the prototype phase.
- Smart sinks that use computer-vision and IoT technology to help you wash your hands better.
- You can lend your computer’s unused processing power to help scientists research drugs to fight coronavirus.
- Finally, as light relief for all this, here’s a site made by one of our CTOs with wallpapers for your video conferences
Need help with emergency technology planning or post-pandemic technology strategy? Contact us to speak with one of our CTOs.
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