This is startling to me - nine days before the World Health Organization declared coronavirus as global pandemic, an AI startup in Toronto predicted it. They used analysis of social media and news reports to reach the conclusion the pandemic was starting.
So, the tech we employed was remarkable. We did not take maximum advantage because, I believe, we are not working as effectively as possible in the manner of a public/private partnership. Our government and private-sector organizations simply are not accustomed to listening and trusting each other, and then working together quickly. That is changing as we come together now, fortunately, but there are certainly pockets of resistance we must overcome.
I am optimistic that, while the impact of this pandemic will be significant, we will recover from it more quickly than we ever could have in previous human history. But, we should start to pay attention as soon as possible to the lessons we can learn so we can do even better. One of those lessons, to me at least, is that we need to start 'exercising the muscles' of public-private partnership working models, so we can take maximum advantage of all the tech we are developing and ultimately deliver the best lives possible for our fellow citizens.
There is a huge amount of data online and discussions often not coming from government channels but through news and chat rooms and blogs and social media," says John Brownstein, chief innovation officer and professor at Harvard Medical School, who researches predicting patterns of influenza epidemics and pandemics. "We need to sift through that information, classify it, sift through the noise, geocode, and then provide a view of emerging diseases.