Technology has played a vital role in each of our lives.
The convenience of a smartphone, the power of AI, and the efficiency of automation make our everyday activities easier for us to enjoy.
But the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic has put to a screeching halt our fast-paced existence.
World economies, established strongholds of financial stability as well as emerging markets have been brought to their knees. It’s the middle of summer in some places but the sight and feel of leisure we have been used to in the past all seem to be a distant memory.
We now live in the “new normal” that is far different from what we were used to.
Things might seem to be so bleak with our current situation, but that doesn’t mean we have to accept it as such.
They say science and technology is a catalyst of change. It could never ring more true at the time of COVID-19.
S&T in healthcare
"COVID is an amplifier,” said Kaveh Safavi, Senior Managing Director—Global Health for Accenture.
If technology is a catalyst for change, then COVID-19 has really jumpstarted a lot of innovation especially when it comes to healthcare.
"It accelerates what was historically done as a matter of convenience, which is now a matter of necessity—to free up resources and give clinicians the time to work on the things that only clinicians can do,” Safavi added in a podcast.
"AI and other information technology will have a transformative role in scaling our human resources and making the care experience more personal,” he said.
Moreover, research and development for drugs and vaccines have kicked into high gear with governments and various private big pharma have been racing against the clock to find the eventual cure for the novel coronavirus of 2019.
Indeed, the pandemic has reshaped how we approach healthcare, there is an exponential growth regarding the use of artificial intelligence, telemedicine, virtual collaborations among health experts, and the aggressive use of data tracking not only to help quell the spread of COVID-19, but to find ways to provide better service to patients well beyond this pandemic.
Robots, Apps, and Data
Big data, artificial intelligence or AI, as well as 5G technology have been utilized to see trends and predict possible scenarios we may face in the ongoing fight against COVID-19.
Data has played a huge role in our everyday lives during our lockdown. Everyday we see the surge in cases, but also the silver lining in the increasing number of recoveries.
Time and again, researchers have given us estimates on the number of possible cases we may hit as we near a certain period of time under a certain lockdown restriction.
More so, mobile applications have also been made for better contract tracing to help governments easily track possible persons infected with the virus.
Robots have also been deployed to disinfect hospitals, tend to patients, as well as other tasks, making life easier for hardworking medical frontliners, who will have more time saving the lives of critically-ill COVID-19 patients.
Going cashless and new ways to earn
This pandemic has taught us to keep our hands clean and never touch our face, nose or eyes. Going cashless indeed has its unequivocal benefits in this time of the pandemic.
Establishments, some even before this whole ordeal, have put up cashless and contactless modes of payments. In the food and beverage industry for example, the use of cash apps is highly preferred.
Meanwhile, it is common knowledge that countless sectors have felt the brunt of the pandemic. Businesses have been forced to shut down, corporations are left with no choice but to retrench employees, and mom's and pop's resources have dwindled. Indeed, the pandemic has affected us all.
But there is an emerging movement especially among social media platforms where online selling is a fad. Hitherto inactive friends on Facebook are now selling frozen siomai or live streaming to earn that extra buck through pre-loved clothing.
“Kung dati siguro mahihiya pa ako magbenta, pero ngayon lahat naman tayo affected, mas mahalaga kumita ngayon ng extra. (Back then, I was shy to sell anything online. But now, we are all affected, it’s more important to earn a little extra),” said Alex San Juan from Bulacan as she sells and markets food products ranging from pastries to dumplings on Facebook.
Tech to continue education
The opening of classes been moved to October this year from the initial August 24 date issued by the Department of Education. We can see the initiatives of the agency, local government units, as well as parents and students themselves, to procure gadgets and other technical requirements in order for the upcoming school year to continue.
E-learning and distance learning methodologies have been put forth for learners. There may be some hurdles for some, but students are still eager to learn and continue their education despite the challenges.
This coming academic year, as well as the next ones, we may see Zoom meetings and Google classroom sessions as a regular fixture in the education system.
Tech as a means to connect amid the pandemic
Perhaps, this point deserves to be the last one to be mentioned.
Technology has helped us cope, in one way or another, with this pandemic. Thanks to social media platforms and other video messaging apps, we got closer even in the confides of our isolation.
During the early days of the government-imposed lockdowns, we weren’t sure of where we were headed. But thanks to technology, we had each other to comfort one another.
It goes without saying that tech may have shown its true potential, and true purpose, in connecting us even if we are miles apart.