In a few short months, the world has turned upside down. Our societies are more interconnected than ever before and COVID-19 has spread like wildfire across the globe since it first emerged in November 2019. However, as well as being more globalised, we are more technologically advanced than ever, and one of the biggest advantages humans have over this virus is technology.
A wide array of tech innovations are being deployed against coronavirus. From virtual reality treatment and diagnosis of patients, to games teaching children about social distancing. From virus-tracking apps and big data, to machine learning, to drones and robotics, technology is helping to treat, trace and prevent the spread of the virus.
Some of the technology is straight out of a sci-fi movie. In Sichuan province, China, police wear smart helmets to automatically measure pedestrians’ body temperatures at a distance of 5 meters, with the helmet sounding an alarm if anyone has a fever.
Across the world, hospitals are turning to 3D printing to produce respirator valves, face shields, and other essential healthcare supplies, while a team of UK-based technologists have crowdsourced an online Coronavirus Tech Handbook with innovative ways to use technology to respond to the pandemic.
What do our readers think? We had a question sent in from Heidi, who wants to know how technology might be used to fight the coronavirus, particularly when it comes to minimising levels of social disruption as a result of the pandemic. How can we use technology to fight the coronavirus?
To get a response, we put Heidi’s question to Margrethe Vestager, Executive Vice-President of the European Commission for a Europe fit for the Digital Age. What does she think?
For another perspective, we also put Heidi’s question to Vytenis Andriukaitis, WHO Special Envoy for the European region and former European Commissioner for Health. How would he respond?
Debating Europe will be hosting a live online discussion with a panel of key policymakers and experts on this topic, on Friday 3 April 2020. The event will be streamed live on Facebook and our website. More details to follow shortly!
How can we use technology to fight the coronavirus? Could technology help prevent the spread of COVID-19 while minimising social disruption? Let us know your thoughts and questions, using the form below and we’ll take them to policymakers and experts for their reactions!