Ritu Agarwal is associate Professor, School of International Relations, Centre for East Asian Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, India, and PhD in Chinese Studies, Department of Political Science, University of Delhi. His research interest is Chinese politics, rural political economy, and Chinese economic development. His books include Yunnan and the New Regional Economic Model, Women Farmers in China's Commercial Agricultural Economy, ethnic Minorities in Yunnan, Ethnic Integration and Higher Education, etc.
1.What are the current development speed of AI technology and the popularity of telemedicine? Will this epidemic cause these two technologies to develop rapidly in the short term, but later popularization work and AI technology research and development have become more and more difficult and difficult to advance?
This pandemic has become a global challenge. All over the world it created a big challenge for the human survival and the governments of different countries have responded to it by adopting various emergency measures. Among different measures, the use of Artificial Intelligence becomes very important as the pandemic has necessitated the social distancing an accepted norm. India had developed an AI based application like Aarogya Setu mobile App to keep people informed of their potential risk of Covid19 infection. The app uses a Bluetooth based contact tracing mechanism. Later for the vaccination programme Co-Win app has been developed for registration for vaccines for different age group of people. In case of pandemic, there is no established treatment protocol and medicine as there is no medicine for COVID. Telemedicine will not be viable option though many places due to unavailability of hospital beds, doctors came online to give consultation to patients.
2.COVID-19 has not completely dissipated and will become an epidemic at any time in the future. Do you think the current global medical system is optimistic and is it sufficient to deal with the next large-scale virus crisis?
The response to COVID-19 has proved human ability to respond to pandemic, vaccine was developed less than a year after the outbreak. Already the world has produced a good number of vaccines especially by countries like America, Europe and China. Many countries have learnt lessons, made tremendous progress in research, establish collaborative efforts and completing all the required clinical trials for the vaccines. America and European leadership has shown effective capabilities in developing vaccine and treating COVID-19 and also have taken significant lead in medical research, gathered data and took important steps in scientific and technological development.
3.The rapid dissemination of information makes wrong information causes large-scale public panic and trust crisis at the time of crisis. The general public also lacks the relative information analysis ability, so how do we deal with this?
The high density of personal mobile ownership and AI based internet services will lead to widespread dissemination of information which can be used for helpful public health causes but pandemic has taught us that wrong information can also be circulated. However, it is important to regulate the dissemination of information from unverified resources, but at the same time, to have information is better than leaving people in the dark.
4.The seemingly more convenient medical system makes it more and more difficult for the elderly. Whether the future health system can cope with the large-scale population aging problem, especially in Asia where the aging problem is serious.
Elderly population requires specific public health policies and programmes because they are the most vulnerable in the time of pandemic. In Asia they live with the family, in Europe they live in medical facilities. In both the cases elderly become vulnerable. This problem requires a fresh approach and policy priority. This is especially true for the countries which are going to face a crisis of care for the elderly population and there needs to develop safety measures for the well-being of the elderly population all over the world.