Coronavirus is driving new technology adoption patterns – proving a double edge sword as authorities grapple with the looming global pandemic.
The World Health Organisation has referred to an ‘infodemic’ spread by social media making it hard for people to find trustworthy sources and reliable guidance when they need it.
Social media has also proven a breeding ground for xenophobic content against some people of Chinese ethnicity, with racist memes and slurs proliferating on TikTok and Facebook.
Meanwhile some teens have been faking coronavirus infection to earn themselves more social-media sway and followers.
However, despite the division experts say new technology adoption is also providing immense benefits for social cohesion, amid the chaos sweeping through disease affected regions.
CCS Insight’s Vice President of forecasting, Marina Koytcheva, says the outbreak is revealing the changing role of technology in people’s lives and how it will grow in the future – with the crisis showing new ways of development.
“Millions have adopted solutions for remote working and collaboration — Alibaba’s DingTalk and Microsoft Teams appear to have become particularly popular services in a short period of time,” she says.
Fifty million children in China returned from their prolonged vacation to school in virtual classrooms through DingTalk, a next gen messaging platform like Teams.
“People are also using the app for health check-ins, to declare if they’re healthy or have symptoms of Covid-19,” she says.
While authorities hit out at social media falsehoods, Koytcheva, says governments around the globe are having to learn to collaborate more closely with technology companies in emergencies.
“Many governments see the tech giants as way too powerful, but cooperation with them can be hugely beneficial for people,” Koytcheva says.
“The example of the Chinese government asking Alibaba and Tencent for help in tracking people’s health status in large cities like Hangzhou offers food for thought and future ideas for cooperative action.”