On Wednesday, Apple became the first U.S. company to hit a $2 trillion valuation when its shares climbed 1.4 percent. It was another milestone for the tech giant which now boasts the title of the world’s most valuable public company. But what Wednesday’s news also signals is another sign of just how valuable a role technology has played since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Artificial intelligence (AI) has been used to track infected patients, robots have been used to deliver medicine and supplies, drones have been used to sterilise public places and online platforms have been used to teach our children and help us work. We have seen society quickly embrace technologies we were previously sceptical about as we have edged ever closer to a more digitally savvy society.
But what does this mean for the future? What technologies will live on? Whilst some will certainly recede, many of the changes we have seen will continue to grow. The changes, for example, in remote working and learning are re-shaping modern business, allowing many more people to work from home than anyone thought possible just 6 months ago.
Similarly, COVID-19 has transformed online shopping from a nice-to-have to a must-have and whilst contactless payments were on the rise already, the introduction of cashless systems to reduce the spread of COVID has given a boost to the digital payments industry.
Looking at the entertainment industry – Apple and other well-established tech giants such as Facebook and Netflix have thrived during the upheaval as the pandemic has forced the party online.
And in medicine? There has been a big uptake in the use of telehealth services such as Doxy.me to contain the spread of COVID-19 while still providing essential primary care.
So now, as we look to the future how can we work together to invest in the necessary infrastructure to support a digital world? Thousands of people have lost their lives due to COVID-19. Millions more are set to lose their jobs. How can we harness technology to help stop those most vulnerable from being left behind?