Retrospection: Yesterday that Leveraged Better Tomorrow

Have you checked your calendar? Time flies away and this is the year 2050. I am writing without using my own hands as we have been in the pursuit of better technology constantly. The “ThinkWrite” device is available after 2040 which can write easily what we think based on our brainwaves. Let’s rewind 30 years back and remember a terrible but impactful year of the 21st century. Yes, It was 2020.

The coronavirus came to the world when we were busy sending rockets to Mars and roaming around space. The tiny virus stopped everything and human could barely meet each other let alone flying in the sky. We learned so much in the year that made us stronger. The whole world was reluctant at the first stage but globalization acted as a blessing for the virus. It traveled the whole world without paying any travel expenses. It was a great war against an invisible army. We fought bravely and survived so far. Let’s look back to our effort that proved the theory of Darwin true once again,

“ struggle for existence & survival of the fittest”

The enemy, coronavirus, was invisible but not invincible. It used humans as a carrier to travel the whole world. We figured out this earlier and built our strategies to stop it. The main challenge was to prevent the spread of the virus. We had developed testing methodologies and medical capacities to cure rapidly. Let’s retrospect the wonders of technology that leveraged the path of humankind to advance forward!

Confronting the Invisible Enemy with Solidarity

In the midst of a crisis, there was one beautiful phenomenon. All the researchers, scientists & innovators were focused on a single topic urgently to save the world. All the human endeavors in biotechnology, vaccine development, virus prevention, artificial intelligence, economic reincarnation, supply chain were directed to a common goal. The virus outbreak had ignited the global community of scholars to act collaboratively for an existential crisis for humankind. There was a scenario of combined effort such as Dr. Duprex’s lab in Pittsburgh was collaborating with the Pasteur Institute in Paris and the Austrian drug company Themis Bioscience. The consortium received funding from the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovation, a Norway-based organization, and was in talks with the Serum Institute of India. The collaboration of so many countries in a single research effort really established the premise of scientific globalization that strengthened humans as a species.

Speculative Innovation Pipeline

The common saying, “Necessity is the mother of invention” was really evident at that time when humans were facing multi-dimensional challenges derived from the virus outbreak.

Analytics had been really useful to determine the movement of viruses and taking preventive measures in the risky zone. The forecasts and warnings about the novel coronavirus spreading beyond China were raised by Artificial Intelligence systems more than a week before official information about the epidemic was released by international organizations. AI had been used mainly to help detect whether people had novel coronavirus through the detection of visual signs of Covid-19 on images from computerized tomography (CT) lung scans; to monitor changes in body temperature through the use of wearable sensors, and to provide an open-source data platform to track the spread of the disease. AI processed a vast amount of unstructured text data to predict the number of potential new cases by area and which types of populations would be at most risk, as well as to evaluate and optimize strategies for controlling the spread of the epidemic.

Fig.1: Artificial Intelligence

Blockchain applications tracked disease outbreaks over time by building ‘ledgers’ that are both stable and updated hundreds of times a day. In addition, blockchain enhanced diagnosis accuracy and efficacy of treatment, streamline the rapid isolation of case clusters, monitor supply chains of medications and medical supplies, manage medical data, and recognize trends of disease symptoms. In situations such as an outbreak of a virus, where high numbers of incoming real-time data were released, Blockchain minimized confusion and provided machine confidence and an integrated mechanism for documenting and sharing consistent factual information between multiple parties.

Fig.2: Blockchain

In the battle against the coronavirus pandemic, robots were deployed around the globe. Robotics technology was used to reduce the risk of person-to-person transmission, particularly in pandemic hotspots as an intelligent solution to combat the coronavirus. From robots that disinfect entire hospitals, decontaminate public and private sites, manage biohazardous waste, or distribute food and medication, to robots that take patient temperatures, and act as a medical assistant.

Fig.3: Automation-Robot

Adapting to the ‘New Normal’

Adaptation is a human competency that prevails us than any other species in the world. When the coronavirus came, humans adapted new means for survival and thrived afterward. Physical activities were replaced by virtual activity which was powered by cloud technology and a strong network across the globe. Digital transformation became a must for education, healthcare, enterprise, and all. The transformation was powered by the amazing wonders of technology such as cloud computing, nanotechnology, IoT that combinedly excelled us towards a better future.

In the year 2050, when I am writing this we have come a long way in defeating the invisible army of viruses. We believe in the human potential and strength of the scientific community to confront any challenge that threatens human existence on this beautiful planet. Let’s utter with pride,

“We are leveraging technology for a better tomorrow!”

References:

1.M. Apuzzo and David, “Covid-19 Changed How the World Does Science, Together,” The New York Times, 01-Apr-2020. [Online]. Available: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/01/world/europe/coronavirus-science-research-cooperation.html. [Accessed: 04-Oct-2020].

2.Ten technologies to fight coronavirus — Think Tank. [Online]. Available: https://www.europarl.europa.eu/thinktank/en/document.html?reference=EPRS_IDA%282020%29641543. [Accessed: 04-Oct-2020].

3.“Stock Images — Photos, vectors & illustrations for creative projects,” Shutterstock. [Online]. Available: https://www.shutterstock.com/?kw=shutterstock. [Accessed: 04-Oct-2020].

Fig.1 © Optinic / Shutterstock.com, Fig.2 © Sashkin / Shutterstock.com Fig.3© HaraldPizzinini / Shutterstock.com

4.Banner Image: Sabbir Rahaman