Friday, 14 June, 2024

COVID-19 Triggers Technological Feat

Irina Shlionskaya

It would seem that epidemics can only go to the detriment of humanity, limiting its capabilities and slowing down development. However, in reality the situation is somewhat the other way around, at least in relation to the current COVID-19 pandemic.

Thus, researchers from the National Research University Higher School of Economics and Moscow State University Leonid Grinin, Anton Grinin and Andrey Korotaev believe that the challenges faced by the world community have led to a powerful technological breakthrough, although it all looks rather ambiguous.

According to scientists who published an article on the ScienceDirect resource entitled "The COVID-19 pandemic as a trigger for accelerating the cyber revolution, the transition from e-government to e-government and changing social relations", the pandemic served as an impetus for the development of a number of areas, including not only medicine, but also additive, nano- and biotechnologies, robotics, information and cognitive technologies. The authors of the article call them by their first letters - "MANBRIK".

Of course, first of all, we should talk about medicine. The development of vaccines has contributed to innovative breakthroughs in biotechnology and genetic engineering. And the need to ensure social isolation and distancing during the quarantine period has provoked the introduction of online technologies, including in areas such as medicine and education. A lot of new or updated services have appeared, excluding personal contacts of people with each other.

At the same time, the situation has led to an increase in social tension due to the need to control society in order to reduce the spread of the disease. Thus, social monitoring programmes, electronic registration systems, etc. were introduced. In the case of the introduction of restrictions, a person could not leave the house, go wherever he wanted. On the one hand, the measure is correct, since it really prevented infection.

On the other hand, it did not always concern precisely sick people and subjectively it was often perceived as a violation of rights. Especially, when a vaccination certificate was required for admission to work, entry to a cultural institution or travel on vacation.

Researchers call this a move towards an "e-government." They believe that in the future there will be a tendency to delegate more and more tasks to sociotechnical systems, which can negatively affect people.

Of course, a person will feel uncomfortable if his every step is "caught" by cameras, every social action is recorded by a smartphone, and all confidential information is recorded by various services. “It is necessary to develop new laws that would optimise the socio-technological interference in people’s lives, especially the invasion of their privacy,” writes Andrey Korotaev, a leading researcher at the HSE Faculty of Social Sciences.
“We need to go through a difficult path of trial and error to move forward on the path to the harmonisation of the technological process and social life".