ICT Clinic (Punch Newspaper)

COVID-19 and the fourth industrial revolution [ICT Clinic]

Various forms of technology have been deployed in the combat against the COVID-19 and surely, the technologies connected with the Fourth Industrial Revolution are not an exception.

From the use of mobile technology for contact tracing and effective collection of data to applying artificial intelligence in running diagnostics, 4IR has offered some ways to combat the high impact of COVID-19.

We cannot shy away from acknowledging that these technologies have not been uniformly distributed across the globe and this is leaving many developing nations lagging, in pulling through this pandemic period. This is also exposing the already vulnerable third world population to the adverse effects of the pandemic. Of course, this comes at a great risk and increases the free flow of transmission of the disease.

In the last days of December 2019, BlueDot, a Canadian AI model, gave warnings on the global spread of COVID-19. It is safe to say here that the warning was taken seriously. Some healthcare organisations have, also, succeeded in creating a COVID-19 screener, based on AI that can determine patients having critical symptoms of the virus.

In terms of adherence to social distancing, cameras with AI-based computer visions are used to monitor gatherings in the public. In China, thermal imaging with AI integration are used to scan public areas to pick out people that are likely to fall sick.

Tech giants, like Google and Apple, collaborated to provide mobile Bluetooth technology to support contact tracing. Robots and drones have done well in ensuring social distancing among people, through the delivery of medicine and food to health facilities that are housing infected patients. Vendors have, also, been able to perform cashless transactions.

Advances in nanotechnologies are not left out of the equation as they have played major roles, in areas like monitoring and surveillance, development of new personal protective equipment and rapid diagnostics. Lovers of 3D printing are, also, taking crucial steps in making essential medical supplies.

How good would all these technologies associated with 4IR have been if they were fully deployed.in developing countries of the world. Africa is not left out of this but not much of technology has been applied to combat this pandemic here.

It boils down to our ability to harness the power of these technologies, in combating the pandemic. Countries across the world have varying capacity, in terms of the digital infrastructure and human capital, for maximizing these technologies.

How countries like Germany, South Korea, the USA and Spain deployed technologies around the 4IR, during the COVID-19 era, will assist policymakers in Africa, in taking decisive actions, at intervening, in fighting the pandemic, with respect to the resources available in their respective countries.

Countries with high effectiveness and usage

Countries with capacities for both effectiveness and usage have highly deployed technologies associated with the Fourth Industrial Revolution in fighting the pandemic.

For instance, Germany has managed death rate from COVID-19 much better than other European countries. Germany is employing the use of — Finish Reading on the Punch

About the author

Chukwuemeka Fred Agbata Jnr

CFA hosts Tech Trends on Channels Television, writes the ICT Column in the Punch Newspapers & also blogs on cfagbata.com.

CFA currently serves as the African Regional Director of Founder Institute.

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