When pandemics like coronavirus strike, technology doesn’t go on a backfoot by becoming simple tools of entertainment. In fact, the only reason China has been able to hold out as long as it has is because of its robust technology infrastructure. With the danger looming so close, the number of technological innovations in China has shot up. Technology is not only being used to make life easier for everyone in danger and under effect, but it’s actively being used to combat the virus. Here are __ ways China is using technology to solve its crisis.
Drones to the Rescue
In China, drones have graduated from their usual roles of being used as toys and video cameras. And authorities have gone from putting limitations on them to using them themselves. How? Drones are proving to be useful helpers when the authorities want to perform their duties but keep a safe distance while doing so.
Across the country, drones are being dispatched to respond to the outbreak. Some patrol walkways with loudspeakers and warn residents to wear masks while others hover over streets with QR code placards that drivers scan with their phones to register health information. In yet other cases, drones are being used to spray disinfectants in remote areas while some others deliver critical medical supplies.
Solving the Code
Even the virus itself had a big headstart and had spread significantly before any crucial measures could be taken, thanks to technology, the research on its treatment has caught up. After sequencing the genome within the first few weeks, China posted it online.
This allowed research labs across the world to jump in on the process and help find a solution. There was even a surge in orders for synthetic samples of the virus to build copies of it from scratch. Many new treatments were tried and many more lessons were learned.
Smartphones Aren’t so Bad Afterall
Smartphones solutions in China are significantly decreasing the speed of the virus’ spread. The biggest example of this being the mobile payment apps. Since paper money can carry viruses for up to 17 days, the fin-tech that was created to make online payments to shopping sites like Alibaba, online casino providers like Nektan, and to friends and family, is helping people in ways it never intended to.
Smartphones are also making living a normal life easier in affected areas. For example, delivery apps have offered a contactless delivery option where drivers drop food off at a specified place to reduce interaction with users. A card is also included in the packages which shows the temperatures of everyone involved in cooking and delivering the food.
Robots in Hospitals
In Chinese hospitals where doctors and service personnel need to reduce contact with the potential victims, robots are being used in many crucial operations. They deliver food, medicine, and other supplies to patients, check patients’ temperatures, disinfect hospitals and other public areas, and even answer common questions.
Moreover, doctors are using AI with the capability of scanning thousands of CT scans in 20 seconds with an accuracy rate of 96% to diagnose coronavirus. Robots have essentially taken the role of nurses in most Chinese hospitals.
Data in the Hands of the Public
Dashboards with transparent and accessible public data have been set up to track the spread of the virus. UN organizations like WHO have paired up with smaller organizations and enterprises for contributions towards these big data dashboards.
The data from these dashboards can then be accessed by users using familiar apps. And while this may be cause debates about privacy and the public good, data has definitely played a critical role in offering treatment, support, information, food, and schooling during the time of crisis.
The Positives of Social Media
As the virus spread globally, so did misinformation. Fake news and sensationalism is a big problem on its own, but during a panic-inducing pandemic, it simply cannot be overlooked. The WHO labeled this spread of false information as the ‘infodemic’.
But where technology can cause problems, it can also solve it. The solution came in the form of a campaign urging users to “spread the word, not the virus”. Experts, organizations, universities, celebrities, and even A.I. news anchors encouraged people to spread trustworthy, helpful information. People shared information on how to wear masks and other important facts.