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Trends03 August 2020

“We should invest in technologies that put people, usability and privacy at the center”

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We already hear about textiles that kill the virus, about applications that tell us whether we’ve recently seen a person infected with the coronavirus, and about a number of solutions to ensure our safety. This is what the near future of the tech world will look like?

Some of such solutions are justified, the question is to what extent they are effective and available on a larger scale. I believe less in the potential of popularizing protective clothes, clothing intended to protect us against viruses and germs, mainly due to the entry barrier in the form of price – it is rather a product for a narrow group of better-off consumers who were best protected during the pandemic, because they were the least subject to exposure to the virus, social group. However, access to tools that guarantee access to proven information and recommendations is very much needed. South Korea, a country set as an example of coping with a pandemic, has placed among the four main steps in fighting it, providing its inhabitants with real-time information on events and recommendations, available online and offline. It was about meeting fear and spreading fake news.

Knowledge is an effective weapon in the fight against a pandemic, thanks to technology people have obtained proven guidelines, they knew how to react, how to take care of themselves and their loved ones. Technology was and will be equally important in the post-pandemic period, if only for the sake of our health and safety. It is important that their development and operation take place democratically, while maintaining the privacy of users. In Korea, which I mentioned in a positive context, but also in several other Asian countries, the technology was used in an intrusive way that would be viewed extremely in normal times.

We should invest in technologies that put people at the center, usability and care not to misuse the information collected. During a pandemic, humans posed the greatest threat to others, as opposed to technology. Hence, there are so many examples of the automation of many processes, of crossing human participation out of the equation. This won’t last forever, however. We cannot socialize only online, through Facebook Rooms, etc. As beings created to build communities, we missed real meetings, hence we moved so rapidly to parks and other places where we loved to be together in BC times (Before Coronavirus times).

It is a part of an interview with me, for reading in the July issue of Newonce Paper.

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