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Fighting COVID-19 with Technology

Three ways in which the tech industry can help society cope with the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic

COVID-19 has wreaked serious havoc since it broke out globally, and although the world is getting used to the disease, working towards procedures to curb its spread and fatalities, we are still some way from having a more permanent solution such as a vaccine.

Until then, the virus will continue to impact every aspect of our lives, as well as all sectors of the economy, and tech is no exception. The technology industry has a vital role to play, pushing innovations to help us all tackle what are sure to be more difficult times ahead.

We’ve already seen some examples of this emerging, so read on for three examples of what shape these innovations can take.

Heat Sensing AR Glasses

Augmented Reality glasses have been a trend under development for a while now, exponentially coming down in price and packing more capabilities, processing power, and sophisticated sensors in ever-smaller devices that are much less cumbersome.

In addition to capturing images, it is possible to have heat-sensing cameras built into such headsets, and it is easy to see how this will become invaluable in helping to screen people who might be showing early symptoms that could indicate they are infected with a virus such as COVID-19. This would go a long way in minimizing contact and curbing the spread of the disease.

There is much discussion around what responsibility tech giants as Twitter and Facebook have in regulating and moderating unfounded claims and hold people accountable Click To Tweet

This will aid in the easy identification of threats and possibly help in the safer long-term reopening of various sectors that have been forced to shut down or dramatically reduce their operations since the pandemic began, and is crucial to restarting the global economy without overloading already-stretched healthcare systems.

One instance which would call for the use of such technology is football, where fans are no longer allowed in stadiums at the moment since large gatherings without screening would make it very likely for the virus to spread. Yet this lack of fans in stadia will see football clubs struggling to keep up their finances and the game behind closed doors has left much to be desired. Until we can all get back to life as normal, many of us are still facing some time stuck at home, but the pandemic has not been able to stop folks from deriving excitement from playing online games. You could, for example, choose to play some games at an online casino in your spare time to get your head off the everyday worries and soothe your nerves amid this pandemic.

Implementing worldwide video conferencing standards 

Many of us have had to embrace the idea of working from home in these turbulent times, and in the middle of this transition we quickly discovered that phone conversations won’t always cut it. And although the quality of video conferencing tools has certainly improved in recent years, we still have a long way to go in order to replicate the sense of connection and presence that we get from face-to-face communications that are (at least for the moment) quite literally on hold.

Many of us have had to embrace the idea of working from home in these turbulent times Click To Tweet

There is still a lot of room for improvement, particularly where it comes to interoperability. If, for example, you receive a video call invitation via Facetime, using an Apple device would be convenient on your end. Meanwhile, Zoom would need a Zoom client, and WebEx requires a WebEx client. Even the likes of Skype and Teams cannot interconnect irrespective of the fact that they’re both Microsoft products.

This is a problem that has been largely addressed in mobile phones and other networked devices, so video conferencing should move in the same direction.

Taking the fight  to peddlers of fake news and recommendations

Sadly, there has been a lot of fake information about this pandemic. And while some of it can be dismissed as somewhat funny, much of it can actually prove harmful, and the proliferation of false information has been proven to put people in real danger.

Social media platforms have been the major disseminator of such fake information and conspiracy theories about potential cures, the origins of the virus, or health advice for curbing its spread. There is much discussion around what responsibility such tech giants as Twitter and Facebook have in regulating, moderating, or at the very least flagging such unfounded claims and hold people accountable.

There has been a lot of fake information about this pandemic Click To Tweet

Decisive action would serve as a deterrent to those gleefully jumping on the ‘misinformation bandwagon,’ and here, too, technology can be our ally. There are many Artificial Intelligence (AI) tools that can be deployed to identify, flag, and neutralize these invalid ideas and recommendations at scale, and doing this could potentially save lives in the long run. Whether there is enough social and political will to push tech companies into doing so, however, is another matter.