THE PANDEMIC AS THE GREAT “BIG DATA” FAILURE AND THE INTERNET OF BEINGS AS THE NEXT FRONTIER

A new paradigma for the research.

Link to the project of research.

dentro corpo

“Where is the knowledge we have lost in information? Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge?”. This quote is from one of the greatest Poets of the twentieth century, the American born and British naturalized Thomas Stern Eliot who gave – in “Choruses from the Rock” - one of the most brilliant versions of the paradox of information we are living today. It did so fifty years before the invention of the INTERNET (in the late seventies) and one century before the great PANDEMIC which has dramatically demonstrated that it is data which will create or waste the wealth and the health of nations.

Numbers do, in fact, show that, eventually, after years of rethoric on “big data”, it is the capability to aggregate, access and analyze large amounts of data which makes countries and firms around the world different in terms of containing the damages of COVID19 and even create huge competitive advantages out of the discontinuities that the pandemic is producing.

The paradox, however, is that the WEST seems to be on the losing side of what has been defined the first global “war” of the 21st century, although it is the WEST (Europe and even more the USA) to invent the technologies which are changing the world: with 10% of global population and 60% of global health expenditure, EU and the USA also account for half of COVID cases and deaths.

The paradox is that we are navigating in oceans of (BIG) data, and yet we know little about the invisible enemy we are fighting and we will argue that the paradox is explained by a totally different approach to technological progress that the WEST and the EAST are pursuing: the 2020 will be probably remembered by historians as the year which signposts the failure of a western approach to technologies as a tool for entertainment, and the start of a new era which will be characterized by a more pragmatic use of the INTERNET as an enabler of solutions to concrete problems.

However, when it comes to scientific prowess, it is still the western labs which are leading the race to the vaccines which are seen as the only “final solution” of the Pandemic: even in this case, however, the quantum leap may come from a novel technique (the RNA Messenger, as in the name of ModeRNA) which says, again, that information technologies and natural science are merging and that data are about to produce a revolution even in the way scientific discovery is achieved, commercialized and protected.

An entire brave, new world of possibilities is unfolding and – as the picture introducing this paper on the first page – we are probably getting closer to the fulfillment of the visions of some of the fantastic movies dating back to the times of the landing on the Moon and the invention of the Internet. which appear now to have run too fast in terms of forecasting great developments.

VISION project on INTERNET OF THE BEINGS is going to investigate how Internet-triggered technologies, and more specifically the exponential reduction of the unit cost to access, transmit and process data are changing

  1. the way health emergency is dealt with;
  2. healthcare systems are organized, patients are monitored and services are delivered; and
  3. research of new vaccines and treatments is conducted; and lastly d) how health policies are designed and assessed.

Data as a lever to transform the entire value chain through which health is preserved and enhanced, as in the representation below: this may be the name of the game which is going to draft a new world order, new models of WELFARE and new methods to conduct research.

Figure 1 - The internet of the Beings

IoB

Source: Vision

Based on the previous elaboration, our research project is going to have impacts on five dimensions that we are going to explore:

  1. The way PANDEMICS are dealt with. Test and trace technologies are the ones that are allowing not only authoritarian countries like China, but also TAIWAN, JAPAN, South Korea and, not less remarkably, Vietnam to achieve radically better containments of the spread of the VIRUS. Here EU’s very approach to privacy (the idea to develop twenty-seven, AD HOC applications) and to regulation (GDPR) is demonstrating all its fragility.
  2. The mechanisms through which people (especially the elderly) are monitored, diagnosed and hailed at home; this, consequently, will modify the principle itself around which healthcare systems were organized in the 20th century. The impact of monitoring mechanisms which are real time, remote and always on is going to be profound also on the very industry of insurance: opportunities and threats will be both radical.
  3. The organization of healthcare systems because if bodies will be increasingly “fixed” at distance, what needs to be reconsidered is the nature itself of a twentieth century public service developed around the idea that everbody has the right to physically access all health services. Telemedicine is one of the oldest idea the mankind has been toying with, however the COVID19 is urging European countries to turn around an hospital based system. There are however great challenges to develop elderly (and high-risk/ low immunity) friendly technological interfaces.
  4. The way research is conducted. The theoretical possibility to introduce sensors in human bodies which can then detect how certain individuals with certain genetic codes react to specific inputs (not necessarily drugs) under specific conditions (temperature, for instance) will produce such a large amount of data that can totally reduce the timing and increase the efficiency and change the methodology through which epidemiologic studies or trials are conducted. This is having already an enormous impact on the way the research on vaccine is carried on and will transform the business of the pharmaceutical companies itself.
  5. The method through which policies are advised, designed and assessed. Both at national (single European countries) and international (European Union and WHO) levels, there is a dramatic lack of the basic information (we practically only know how many cases and how many deaths in order to compare countries and regions, whereas even the accuracy of this data is disputable) to answer some fundamental, strategic questions (for instance we still do not have any open, accessable information to understand whether people who contracted the virus are less or more likely to relapse).

It is potentially a gigantic transformation. The trouble is that Asia may be on the winning side; Italy and part the European Union may, instead, be on the losing one as the numbers of the economic costs of the PANDEMIC appear to say; America (and probably Germany) still has the concentration of talent to enjoy breakthroughs.

******

In brief the study is about the “INTERNET OF THE BEINGS”. A new paradigm which may coincide with the third greatest and ultimate stage of the Internet revolution.

GRAPH 1 – The three stages of the Internet evolution - Number of digital, physical or organic objects being connected (in BN) 

Evolution

Source: Vision on CompTIA and Gartner Data

This is, then, going to be an evolution which will propose enormous ethical and security risks and problems of regulations; but also the opportunity to defeat the COVID19 and get prepared to further pandemics; realize a quantum leap in life expectancy and fight against diseases which we almost consider as unavoidable part of modernity; develop and evaluate policies and public debate on the basis of evidence (which is an antidote to fake news which have multiplicated themselves lately); and last but not least give sense to a technological progress which is failing most of its promises.

The above typologies of possible impacts will articulate VISION project. The last section of the project will spell out our recommendations which will mostly have the EU and national governments as their main targets.

The synopsis of the study is therefore the following:

  1. TEST AND TRACE: THE ASIAN WAY AND THE EUROPEAN MISTAKE 
  2. MONITORING AND HEALING HEALTH IN THE 21ST CENTURY. A FANTASTIC VOYAGE INTO THE INTERNET OF THE BEINGS
  3. SCIENCE IN A BIG DATA WORLD: THE QUANTUM LEAP OF THE FUSION BETWEEN BIOLOGY AND COMPUTER SCIENCE
  4. REDESIGN HEALTH (AND WELFARE) SYSTEMS AND ECONOMICS FOR A BRAVE NEW WORLD
  5. OPEN NUMBERS AS A QUESTION OF DEMOCRACY
  6. IMPLICATIONS FOR POLICY MAKERS, LIFE SCIENCE ENTREPRENEURS AND HEALTH WORKERS

Follow Us

Partner

vision and value logo

© 2021 Vision & Value Srl | vicolo della Penitenza 10 – 00165 Roma | P. IVA 04937201004
Credits elmweb