The pandemic emphasized the critical necessity of digital technologies for tackling global crises, but also revealed risks connected to the same technologies when they end up in wrong hands. The pandemic accelerated several technologies which will contribute to resilient societies in the future: video conferencing and online journalism; e-commerce and robotics; remote work and distance learning; and telehealth and online entertainment. Medical professionals use 3-D technology to print protection gear and masks; researchers use AI and Big Data to build COVID-19 prediction models.
On the other hand, the pandemic led to the disruption of democracies and digital rights worldwide. Certain governments are using COVID-19 as the pretext for massive surveillance, censorship, and control over communications. China introduced its face-detection system, and Russia launched a tracking app and massive surveillance system. We are witnessing an unprecedented rise of disinformation, false news and conspiracies, amplified by malign actors and oppressive regimes. We also face the problem of digital inequality as many people without internet are deprived of information and help.
We have always hoped that our digital tools would create connections, not conflict and free spaces, not confinement. It is the right moment to brainstorm and strategize how to achieve this. The pandemic also re-emphasized the importance of truth telling as a foundation of life and policy.
As we can see, many sectors were critically impacted by COVID-19, and some aspects need troubleshooting. Join us on this digital exploration journey that will aim to address questions/issues regarding digital troubleshooting in:
@coronavirus and global pandemics
@democracy and social engagement
@truthseeking and disinformation
@privacy and surveillance