The tech companies may not have invented a new vaccine or any new technology for COVID-19, but they have started implementing different technologies with innovative studies. According to Ilker Kose, head of Istanbul Medipol University Technology Transfer Office, tech companies are now focusing on curbing coronavirus. When COVID-19 outbreak turned into a pandemic, many countries across the world took proactive measures to prevent the effects of the epidemic. Technological developments are one such aspect.
Recently, tech giants, Apple and Google announced that they would require cooperation with countries on COVID-19 contact tracing technology. The Turkish Health Ministry also launched an application for smartphones using which people will be able to detect and monitor the COVID-19 cases in their locations.
‘Among many developments protecting social distance comes first, and also controlling mobilizations situations and tracing systems are other important developments. Another issue is technology companies focused on right after the first shock was the solutions that enable the things we do in daily life to be done remotely. Distance education and video conferencing solutions improved and increased rapidly, and similarly, solutions have been developing to provide health services remotely’, Kose said.
In the recent weeks since COVID-19 outbreak spread across the world, applications for smartphones, which developed as a warning system for people entering the intensively COVID-19 patients area, became much popular. According to Kose, through tracing people with their cameras and phone signals was possible earlier too, but the process was limited due to law restrictions. He added that people haven’t gotten over the social trauma caused by COVID-19, and the situation becomes apparent, and people will be more capable of making rational decisions.
“However, it is certain that relevant legislation will move forward to a point in which the public’s health becomes will be more important than individuals’ freedom. Therefore, many applications will be used for marking and following people, measuring the social distance which recent technology already enable to do so,” he said. Once the outbreak is controlled, mobile phones, smart ID cards and wearable technology like watches and bracelet will become widespread and popular.
People’s Demand for Technology
Although the world has its eyes on the vaccine, there are also very important developments that came out in the field of digital technology. Wireless communication became more essential and was used mostly for voice, image, and data communications. People are demanding more and more developments in technology. Kose stated that the world approached the technological limit in wireless connection at this time, and 5G and other succeeding technologies are in demand. “5G technology is a solution that was arising from the demands of people” he added.
Western Countries’ Approach
China has an extensive and enormous surveillance system which gives it the ability to trace millions of people. For a Western society to develop this technique, sounds complicated. “Western societies will develop unique solutions different from China and similar countries,’ Kosa stated. “Authoritarian countries will proceed by setting rules that the whole society will follow. But I don’t think Western countries will put pressure on people on this issue. Instead, they will ask the public to decide for the transition to the surveillance system to prevent pandemics,” Kose said that in a society where people accept such a surveillance system, some people would disagree. He claimed that there would be an accumulation of anger against surveillance and tracing system, and would witness social riots.
COVID-19 pandemic originated in Wuhan in China and spread to 185 countries and regions, with the U.S. and Europe the hardest-hit areas at present. The world has witnessed over 2.71 million coronavirus cases with more than 191,000 deaths. More than 745,000 people have recovered so far.