Our digital infrastructure needs strengthening to deal with the impact of COVID-19 and future public health crises; Better integration of Artificial Intelligence in to the public health response should be a priority;
Analysis of big data relating to citizens’ movement, disease transmission patters and health monitoring could be used to aid prevention measures.
Cities across the world have made infrastructure innovation a priority to safeguard their physical systems so they can stay robust and antifragile during natural disasters such as earthquakes, tsunami and hurricanes. But pandemics have shown that these methods aren’t enough when it comes to ensuring connectivity and accessing our society during biological disasters.
The primary challenge now, at the time of this crisis, is to integrate and streamline digital infrastructure at various stages of the public health response, particularly in the context of epidemic forecasting and decision-making. A new age digital era has emerged; artificial Intelligence and the Internet of Things (IoT) could be instrumental in keeping this new virus within reasonable limits.
Governments are now relying on ubiquitous instruments (sensors) and powerful algorithms instead of flesh-and-blood spooks. In the war against COVID-19, several governments have implemented these new surveillance tools.
Maps of the world show how the decrease in the transportation of people has drastically reduced carbon emissions across different countries, but what’s the case for emissions from digital technologies? Will the volume of people working from home or using digital devices in quarantine cause an increase in emissions from other sources? What is being done by the large cloud-providers to address the capacity issue?
Some researchers and private entities along with their respective state governments are developing a digital platform, HealthMap, which visually represents the disease outbreaks according to location, time and the type of contagious virus, bacterial disease that is being carried while entering into the city.
Governments across the globe are gradually developing the digital infrastructure and engineering capabilities to face the pandemic and alleviate the spread of COVID-19 through community-driven contact-tracing technologies. These enable citizens to react assertively and promptly to pandemic diseases.
The virus has provided a new start for digital infrastructure development. Using the cloud, big data and AI applications creates room for industries to develop and build new business models that help citizens understand the severity of pandemic disease and ensure preventive measures.