The world is shutting down. As people around the world face the realities and are forced into isolation. News of the novel pandemic threat that has taken lives reported every single day. It’s only natural to feel anxious about the situation - wondering when will it end and when we will be able to get on with our lives?
Much remains uncertain, but envisioning the post-pandemic world is something ensuring we change for the better, not the worse.
We are now living in the era that systemic problems are the new norm of threat. It is a massive scientific and societal challenge which global citizens are all encountering just out of the blue. For such an example of Climate change to the new spreading of disease Covid-19. The situation leads to an enormous stress test that dares questioning healthcare, economic, society, politics and other systems in the age of globalization. The lesson of this outbreak is not how globalization failed but how fragile it is and how can we effectively prepare for such a crisis.
I’ll have this noted to myself reflecting my own perspectives and so what does the future look like?
1. Systems Thinking:
It’s time that people are now paying more attention to the importance of systems thinking. We are a part of things, a system and a change maker - power relies on all individuals in order to make a change in the society. The most obvious example of this outbreak is that with all small acts of people getting to stay home, practice social distancing playing parts to leverage and slow the spread of the infection. Thus, we all play the main role flattening the curve - sound easy right?
However, it seems to be a big challenge when it comes to effective communication encouraging a collaboration of all. Flatten the curve is not the only concern, but economically and societal solutions also key success factors of winning this war.
In Thailand, we can foresee that inequality of society will affect the idea of flatten the curve. With the full shut down of the country left with no means for migrant workers to earn a living that leads to the decision of heading back home. Consequently, higher risks for spreading of the outbreak outside the infected areas will be expanded, due to the movement of folks. Not only the policy that works but the government needs to come up with the support in this situation. For example, the U.K government announced that it would cover 80% of self-employed grants. Thailand’s government also expects to support similar packages to individuals.
2. Environmental Sustainability:
While we are all in the fight against coronavirus, we are fighting climate change, too.
The outbreak has led to a shutdown of economic activity and a drastic reduction of carbon emission. No plane, No boat nor Car - everyone shelter in place lead a drastic reduction of global emission. We are more likely to reduce leftover food and carbon footprint when we dine at home. Humans are part of nature, not separate from it - we have a chance to build a brighter future as we learn amid the crisis. To make those changes and impacts, kind cooperation requires from all countries pointing to one direction as we all cease to exist making environmental sustainability.
3. Civic Tech:
The calling of Civic Tech/ Crowdsourcing and Hackathon are the trend. Taiwan sets an example for the World on How Face Mask Map effectively helps lower the risk by just locating the number of available masks at various stores nationwide along with over 124 policies. Open research innovation is another great example of a call to action collaboration between AI experts and scientists in response to the pandemic.
4. Service Automation:
The coming of covid-19 is upending as we know it. The impacts of it lead new Business process innovation shifting the way we live. Thinking about digital disruption and online platforms that we’re all now in - Work From Home implemented in many organizations.
We rely on those online platforms to communicate, to work and to shop which rapidly lead the expansion of delivery service and cashless society while people are confined to homes globally. Robots or other automation innovations play roles during this crisis to avoid human interaction. It will accelerate a change that has already begun, reshaping the way we shop, restaurant business, healthcare system, medication, financial and schooling systems.
5. Global Supply chain redesign:
From traditional perspectives of Lean and Optimal that left not many choices. Covid-19 is undermining the controversial belief of global manufacturing. Organizations will now rethink and demand to know more about their origins of the supplies and will trade off efficiency for redundancy.
6. Bioinformatics & AI:
A call off to advanced AI & Bioinformatics in global healthcare optimizing the capacities helping the outbreaks. For instance, Telemedicine allows doctors to consult their patients without physical appearance. Machine Learning adoption in reading CT Scan. Alibaba claims that its model beats humans in detecting films with 96% accuracy in only 20 seconds, while it’s 15 minutes for humans. Furthermore, AlphaFold of Deepmind is going after coronavirus
7. Fake news immunization:
In this crisis, false information is spreading faster than the virus itself. It’s a challenge for all of us and the government to cope with this infodemic. The easiest way we could do is to check before we share any information, choose the reliable mediums and best practice some digital detoxing. Misinformation on social media is difficult to trace back to its origin, however, blockchain could become a solution on this traceability. We can choose to cooperate and to help one another. The power of freewill is in our hands.
8. Global Leadership:
While the World is shutting it down - China asserts claim to global leadership, providing essential equipment to affected nations. With China using soft power changing perceptions about the pandemic, sending doctors and medical supplies to Serbia, Irian, Spain and Italy - countries that have been hit hard by the virus. As well as the giant E-commerce, Alibaba sent over 20,000 test-kits, 100,000 masks to over 54 countries in Africa. Thanks to Jack Ma and China showing their generosity during the crisis and proof that there’s no boundary in the time of catastrophe to seperate us, humanity.
9. Sensor based data collection:
With this outbreak, we realize the importance of data collection and analysis. Transparency and traceability in tracking patients (i.e. Tracetogether or patients management) Getting cooperation from the community and individual is vital to reducing the spread of infections. In the near future these sensors and IoT will be widely used in Smart City - population observation, migration of people, density, traffic or even those data in smart watch, smartphone and contactless biometrics (Face recognition).
10. Outbreak Analytics:
How we can prepare for the next epidemic is a topic to a better response for the sake of mankind. Therefore, data science is applied to facilitate the healthcare sector as outbreak analytics. Starting from where it begins, contact history, how they got infected including the WGS (Whole genome sequencing) and Nucleotide. All developments of modelling infectious disease outbreak for informing the response to emerging pathogens.
As we are all in this unprecedented living memory. No timeline of its ending nor when the vaccine will be ready. We can see those opportunities in the process of innovation that respond to outbreaks such as crowdsourcing. The faster the action, the more effectiveness in response to the situation. I would like to encourage all of you looking forward to a brighter future, we will be more than ready for the next unexpected and isn’t it those difficulties that bring out our true colors? There is always ease after every difficulty. This too shall pass.
(At least we learn the important lesson of how to get a proper hand wash, Right?