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OPLIN 4Cast #688: Is coronavirus a technology story?

Posted in 4cast

The 4Cast should be about trends and currents in technology that are relevant to public library services. COVID-19, the current coronavirus strain dominating the headlines and our social media feeds, is not a technology story, but it’s practically all the tech journalists are talking about.

We’ll be back next week with our usual stories about the widening influence of algorithms and AI, the shifting landscape of online entertainment and information access, and more numbing revelations over intrusions into our privacy. Meanwhile, wash your hands, put a new container of antimicrobial wipes out by the public computers, and try to stop touching your face.

  • The Week in Tech: Coronavirus Disrupts the Industry [New York Times] “Companies are telling investors that sales are slumping because of the outbreak, conferences are being canceled, and workers are being instructed not to travel.”
  • Roundup: Tech’s role in tracking, testing, treating COVID-19 [MobiHealthNews] “As the cases of COVID-19, increase, we are seeing a rise in digital epidemiology tools, chatbot helpers, EHR guidance tools and rapid response test kits.”
  • How AI Is Tracking the Coronavirus Outbreak [Wired] “The program is looking for social media posts that mention specific symptoms, like respiratory problems and fever, from a geographic area where doctors have reported potential cases. Natural language processing is used to parse the text posted on social media, for example, to distinguish between someone discussing the news and someone complaining about how they feel.”
  • Coronavirus Outbreak Gives Rise to More Complex Forms of Remote Work [Wall Street Journal] “The sudden adoption of remote work has led to higher degrees of efficiency. In some cases, productivity increases. There is also more e-commerce. Some members of older generations who didn’t use these platforms before are using food delivery and e-commerce platforms now.”

From the Ohio Web Library: