The societal and economic challenges and the very high personal costs created by the COVID 19 epidemic came unexpected to most of us. The digital and virtual world allowed us to keep in touch with loved ones, keep learning or reskilling, work and consult at a distance, and continue to be productive. Thanks to some of the newest technologies’ scientists learned quickly, shared data and develop knowledge. On the other hand, disinformation spread nearly as fast as the epidemic itself, and democratic institutions are being tested as never before.
New ways of behaving and interacting, new tools and apps have been developed at a record speed. P4TT partner Dr Veerle Vandeweerd summarized some of the transformative tools in a note on Innovative Technologies to fight the Coronavirus (Date May 2020) . She highlights the importance of artificial intelligence, blockchain applications, open source technologies, telehealth applications, three dimensional printing, gene- editing technologies, nanotechnologies, synthetic biology and drones and robots as well as enhanced technologies such as CT scanners incorporating AI.
In a second document Dr Lieve Fransen summarized the highlights of a webinar she moderated and organized with the Digital Enlightment Forum on 13 October 2020 on Democracy, Covid 19 and digital technologies, where she discussed how the way we use, abuse or regulate our technologies in the process of transformation will indicate if we are moving in the direction of reinforcing the resilience of our democracies.