Beyond the Pandemic: Survival of the Human Race and Challenges

Beyond the Pandemic: Survival of the Human Race and Challenges

Manas Kumar Yogi, Jyotsna Garikipati
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-8786-7.ch017
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The COVID-19 pandemic is changing our lives in an unanticipated manner. Various sectors like healthcare, education, business, entertainment, tourism, etc. are affected. Many disruptive technologies like AI, blockchain, 3D printing, robotics, genomics, distributed power systems, etc. made a huge impact during the pandemic. Wearing masks, frequent handwashing, maintaining social distance, etc. are the new normal. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) that were targeted for 2030 are moving against the goals. Due to COVID, online shopping increased, reported crime rates reduced, cybercrimes increased, school dropouts increased, financial instability increased, etc. Many researchers are affirming that only after attaining herd immunity, the corona virus will vanish. But another question to be answered is whether it is possible to achieve herd immunity with so many variants of the virus spreading all over the world. This chapter discusses various disruptive technologies, how humans are struggling to live along with the virus, and a future look on how the world will be after the pandemic.
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COVID-19 is perhaps the most uttered word in the past one and half years in almost every country. When it was first identified in China in December 2019, it was thought to be an outbreak, later it was realized as an epidemic. Now it is a pandemic. In the realm of infectious diseases, a pandemic is a worst-case scenario. It has its impact in almost every field and on every individual either directly or indirectly. Millions of people have lost their lives and many are getting affected by it. More and more people are searching for general health-related information in the search engines which can be either media-driven or disease-driven. A general assumption is that the more the volume of data, the better the prediction results will be. In the wake of COVID-19, the spreading of misinformation on social media and other digital platforms is as much a threat to global public health as the virus itself. Less volume of right data can give better results than a large volume of erroneous data. But for those who fear the survival of mankind post-COVID-19, this is not the first of its kind. A few of them are The Black Death in 1347, from which the origin of the word Quarantine took place; the Great Plague in 1665, the 1918 Flu, etc.

This chapter discusses various disruptive technologies like AI, Blockchain, 3D printing, Robotics, Genomics, Distributed Power Systems, IoT, Drones, etc. and their impact during and post COVID period. AI has its applications in the COVID-19 crisis, like in detecting anomalies, diagnosis of medical imagery and symptom data, predicting a person’s probability of the infection, monitoring persons who have come in contact with the infected person, deploying drones for the transportation of the materials, deploying virtual assistants, chatbots, robots for serving the infected people, tracking the economic recovery, etc. Blockchain can be used for crisis management, tracking donations, securing the medical supply chains, etc. 3D printing is used in manufacturing face shields, face masks, nasopharyngeal swabs, etc. Understanding genomics will help in identifying the various mutations of COVID-19. Due to the pandemic, most of the people are staying at home and businesses have slowed down due to lock down and hence the commercial power consumption has gone down and the residential load has increased. Hence there is a need for an alternative to distributing the power between the commercial and the residential sectors. In Figure.1, the use cases of various disruptive technologies are listed.

Figure 1.

Use Cases for different disruptive technologies


Key Terms in this Chapter

Sustainable Development Goals: In short SDGs. These goals were set by the United Nations in 2015 to make the earth a better place of living for mankind by curbing poverty and protecting the planet.

Artificial Intelligence: AI is nothing but making computers think on their own, using previous knowledge or learning from the environment. AI covers a wide range of sub-topics like machine learning and deep learning. It includes many other branches like evolutionary computation, fuzzy systems, machine learning, deep learning, computer vision, natural language processing, etc.

Genomics: The study of genes, their functions, and other related techniques are called genomics. How the nucleotides or the bases will be sequenced and form new combinations will be studied in genomics. A genome is the order of A’s (Adenine), G’s (Guanine), T’s (Thymine), and C’s (Cytosine). It is a long string of letters in a strange language and is similar to decoding.

3D Printing: Three-dimensional objects will be created layer by layer using computers with fewer resources and minimal or no wastage. Also known as additive manufacturing. This disruptive technology changed the traditional manufacturing industry.

Disruptive Technology: A disruptive technology modifies how anything works in a typical life. The activity or task will be so much dependent on the technology that will be changing the way we do things.

Robotics: The science of making robots to do different types of work is called robotics. This technology can be either disruptive or non-disruptive.

Blockchain: Blockchain is nothing but a way to store data in a decentralized manner. The term decentralization means without any central authority. In a blockchain, data is stored in groups called blocks. Whenever new information is obtained, it will be linked to the unceasing chain.

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