As covid-19 began spreading around the world, an avalanche of new digital services and data-driven approaches has emerged to aid pandemic response. From smartphone exposure notifications to vaccine allocation algorithms, these systems have been developed under the watch of politicians, public health officials, scientists and businesses. They have also faced many challenges.
The Pandemic Technology Project examines how these systems are being used in the fight against SARS-CoV-2. Over the course of 2021, it will investigate and report on the various ways that digital technologies are developed and deployed.
The project is funded by support provided by a grant to MIT Technology Review from the Rockefeller Foundation. Content is editorially independent and output is overseen by MITTR editor Bobbie Johnson. Unless otherwise stated, all material posted by the project reflect the views of the individual contributors, and not the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, or the Rockefeller Foundation.
How it started
Our coverage started in March 2020, as we saw technologists discussing how smartphones could help detect possible exposure to the disease. This led to a flood of apps and systems, which we began monitoring developments through our Covid Tracing Tracker.
As the pandemic continued, we saw these technologies supplemented by other digital interventions, including expanding the use of digital health records, the prospect of immunity passports, and other data-driven ways of approaching the spread of covid-19.
How it’s going
In November 2020, we expanded the project to take in this larger landscape. The project is now funded by a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation, and alongside the core staff of Technology Review, we have dedicated reporters and editors focused on uncovering more about these important questions.
You can see a full list of stories we’ve published on the Pandemic Technology Project page.
What they’re saying about us
The project and tracker have received coverage in news outlets around the world, from international broadcasters to local websites. If you’re a member of the press interested in talking to our team about this work or the role of technology in the pandemic, please email [email protected]
Our work has also been used in public health decisions, and cited in studies and research papers. If you are referencing our work, or have an interest in our data please email [email protected] to let us know.