Viewpoint: Data-Driven Collective Action Is Imperative For A Post-Covid-19 Development Agenda
By Deepali Khanna
The socioeconomic and public health impact of the Covid-19 pandemic will undoubtedly be felt by the world’s poor and vulnerable for years, perhaps decades, to come. It is feared that decades of progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) may simply be erased, thanks to the pandemic. In times like these, the development community must look inwards and ultimately refocus its efforts to serve the most vulnerable and prevent large-scale socio-economic devastation.
While governments and social sector organizations had slowly started to integrate data science and data-enabled technologies like AI into their programs and mission statements, the pandemic expedited this inevitable transition. Contact tracing applications, predictive modeling for active cases, estimations for hospital capacity, remote learning, telemedicine, etc. are all examples of how the government, industry and civil society have been leveraging the power of data science and technology to respond to the pandemic. Citizens also seem to have made a virtue out of necessity with trends reflecting that digital modes of learning, conducting business and shopping have exploded across segments of the economy during these difficult times.
Photo courtesy of NASA.