I’ve been working from home for several years, so I’m used to it. Many people who have never thought of doing this have found themselves working from home the past few weeks. Companies who have never given their employees a chance to work remotely are finding that it’s possible. Setting up remote workers is not easy, but companies have scrambled to get it done.
As the world deals with the Covid-19 pandemic, technology is making some things better for those of us in isolation. I miss seeing my grandchildren in person, but I’ve done several story times with them through virtual meeting software. As I write this, I’m listening to a live concert through Facebook. Groups of friends are getting together online to share recipes, discuss books, or just shoot the breeze. I was in one such call recently where we all ended up showing off our coolest conference swag. We can even stream hundreds upon hundreds of movies and TV shows when we get bored.
Technology is making “shelter in place” easier for those of us who have it available. Universities and schools have managed to switch to online formats. Physicians are seeing more patients virtually through telemedicine, and many conditions can be monitored by patients themselves via devices and smartphone apps. Even though staying apart still feels bad, technology makes it much easier than it could be.
We are also better equipped today to fight the disease. For example, jvion is using clinical-AI to help doctors predict which patients to prioritize and figure out the best treatments. The Fevermap app collects temperatures reported by its users that can predict where infection is spreading so local authorities can take appropriate action. Researchers are using artificial intelligence to quickly develop vaccines and treatments.
So far, South Korea has made the best use of technology to slow the spread of the virus. They are using geo-tracking to alert citizens when a new case is diagnosed nearby and broadcast the patient’s movements. The idea is that they can more quickly identify people who have been exposed so they can be isolated and figure out the source of infection. Of course, there are privacy issues that most countries wouldn’t tolerate, but South Korea officials are not relying on the old ways of handling pandemics.
The ability to communicate with others across the globe in real time is the most amazing advancement of our time in my opinion. With this ability, we can continue to be productive, connect with friends, and get through this difficult time.