100 Pandemic Technologies

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Quarantine bracelets, pandemic drones, predictive cleaning, bio-patches and syndromic surveillance: the pandemic has shown how much faith we put in data, digital tools and the intelligence the companies who produce them claim will solve our problems.

A snapshot of pandemic technologies

Technologies of Hope is a curated collection of 100 data-driven, machine learning and AI enabled technologies around the world: developed, marketed and implemented to mitigate the pandemic and to help societies ‘get back to normal’.

The project creates a snapshot in time and an archive of rapid shifts in the uptake of ambient, behavioural and bio-metric data and intelligence worldwide. Some of these technologies bring hope and some play into our fears. Ultimately the project asks - what kinds of societies are we building? what trade-offs are we willing to make? and do these techno-solutions help us succeed in controlling the virus, or only in controlling the hosts?

Exploring the products and companies listed here you can browse our selection of technologies and watch short promotional and explainer videos highlighting individual, corporate and governmental visions of how society can survive and function using technology in a pandemic and post-pandemic world.

Controlling the virus or the host?

The curation examples presented in Technologies of Hope have been chosen from hundreds of companies around the world. They represent the breadth of sectors, products and ideas that seek to offer solutions for a wide range of pandemic related problems. Whether creating early warning systems, restricting human movement or helping people get back to work, data and the insights and intelligence it is claimed to create, has been seen as the answer. Regardless of which technologies ultimately fail or succeed, they demonstrate a widespread faith in big data to help us get 'back to normal' and 'back to business'.

This project looks at how technology companies present themselves and their products and how they promote them in the context of Covid. It presents the narratives, values and propositions of these companies and explores the logic and the world views they present. There are no right or wrong answers. Some technologies are essential breakthroughs, some are a distraction from the challenge at hand and some may pose more problems than they solve, it is this uncertainty that Technologies of Hope intends to explore.

These technologies all seek to create new forms of intelligence by focusing on the vehicle of the pandemic's spread: the host. With the promise of sustaining our health and our societies, we have faced trade-offs: safety versus surveillance, care versus control, fear versus freedom. Whether the host is an individual, within a group, or hiding in a population, it is often the data object. The most advanced, cutting-edge technologies, data analysis and machine learning are utilised in an attempt to see the host from as many different angles as possible and with unprecedented precision.

The dilemma we as societies face is that our technological response to this planetary-scale crisis may not offer greater control and understanding of the virus, but rather greater control and understanding of ourselves.