APRIL 27, 2020
In the present world humans, still have many big choices to make. Among the biggest challenge, these days is how to deal with the crisis either through nationalistic isolation by having each country competing with all the others for the scarce resources or whether they will deal with it through international solidarity and cooperation. Is it the clash of civilizations, nationalism, community, or religion? As every economy is coping with the current challenge according to its governance structure, even the world’s best economies with advanced technology have certainly collapsed in the current scenario.
It will shape not just the crisis but also the world for years to come. Early on the level of each country, each country has to choose whether it deals with the crisis in an authoritarian way by empowering some dictator or powerful authority or whether it deals with the crisis by empowering the citizens and teaching democratic checks and balances. The way decisions are being made today, whatever comes afterward, it is like coming to a party after the party is over and the only thing left to do is to wash the dishes. Every governance structure in their respective capacity and capabilities are handing out trillions of dollars and coping up with the changing job market and economic dynamics. Therefore, whoever enters in 2021 will find it very difficult to rewind the movie and try something else.
Firstly, we can observe the mass surveillance entering and being adopted in democratic countries that previously resisted them. Secondly, we see the nature of surveillance changing from over the skin surveillance to under skin surveillance
When we move forward if we have to think about how this time will influence the way, we socially interact with each other going forward. However, as explained in my previous articles there is a world order in remaking. There could be big changes in the job market, in the university. Some universities move online, then this will create a completely different social atmosphere for the students. Nevertheless, the fundamentals of human nature will not change. For instance, the Black Death did not change human nature. In 1918, the influenza epidemic did not change human nature and Covid-19 will not change human nature.
If we have a glance at the maybe the last big epidemic, the AIDs epidemic that was in many ways much worse than what is happening now if you get coronavirus you have a very good chance of living. In the early 1980s, if you got AIDs you died. Actually, for the first time in history, we have everything needed to overcome this epidemic. Above all a good scientific understanding of what causes the disease and how to prevent it from spreading. During the Black Death, maybe the biggest problem was ignorance. People were dying in the millions, all around, and nobody had any idea why people were dying and what could be done about it. The medical faculty in Paris and the University of Paris, their best estimate was that this is something to do with the astrological position of the sun. Even a hundred years ago during the big 1918 influenza, the best scientists were working on it, and nobody discovered what was the actual violence causing the epidemic. Now it took us two weeks to identify the correct virus, and develop reliable tests. Therefore, we are really in a better position than at any time before. What we do not necessarily have is the political wisdom to make use of our immense power. Maybe the biggest problem of all is the lack of international cooperation and global solidarity. We should not be afraid of the virus. Indeed, we should be more concerned about the inner humanity coming out, how people are reacting to this crisis, not with solidarity but with hatred or grief.
Now nobody is taking the global responsibility and therefore so far we do not have a global plan of action, not in the field of health care and certainly not in the economic field. Many countries are looking just about their interest and competing with other countries for medical equipment. Traditionally the U.S. was the responsible adult, in a case like the Ebola epidemic or the 2008 financial crisis, they step forward to be the leader of humanity and in both cases managed to gather enough countries around it to prevent the worst outcome. Now the U.S. has undertaken this role as a global leader. Briefly explained they do not want this job. They care only about themselves. Besides, when you look at the actual response of the U.S. in its own house to the epidemic, it is worsening daily than almost any other country. Not just compared to China, but also compare it to South Korea, to New Zealand, even to Greece, Greece is also doing an amazing job in containing this epidemic. If Ii had to choose, say between China and the US, who should be leading the world now giving us a plan of action. I would choose China. In this hour of emergency, the effectiveness and futuristic approach of the Chinese governance structure has certainly set the benchmark for world order in remaking.
To conclude, it could be good but one has to be very careful about it. What is happening now, really a watershed in the history of surveillance? Firstly, we can observe the mass surveillance entering and being adopted in democratic countries that previously resisted them. Secondly, we see the nature of surveillance changing from over the skin surveillance to under skin surveillance. Over the skin surveillance is say the government or corporation watching, monitoring where you go, what you buy, what you watch on television. Under the skin, surveillance starts with monitoring your blood pressure, but ultimately it is about tagging your body and brain and knowing what you are feeling each movement, not just pain or coughing, but emotions as well. Interestingly, ten years in the future, fast forward, North Korea, citizens has to wear a biometric bracelet on their arm and have to watch a big speech by big leaders. Also, when they watch the speech, it will detect what is happening in their citizen’s body. They can smile and clap their hands but if they are angry actually, the device will configure it. Thus, in the future, one could have no control over what is happening in their body. So this is no longer science fiction, this is already within reach of present-day technology and the coronavirus epidemic can be the watershed event when government going under our skin becomes were accessible.