How Tech Can
— and Can’t
— Rebuild the Post-Pandemic World

How Tech Can —
and Can’t —
Rebuild the Post-Pandemic World

Seven experts talk about the role of technology in the days to come.

For years, China has invested heavily in emerging technologies such as 5G, AI, blockchain, and robotics — all to turn itself into a scientific as well as manufacturing powerhouse. So naturally, tech factored strongly into the nation’s strategy for combatting the coronavirus. Over the past five months, experts around the country have used 5G to improve remote diagnostics, artificial intelligence to identify promising vaccine candidates, and satellites to keep an eye on the country’s economy.

But talk to one of the nation's scientists, and there’s a good chance you’ll find them more concerned than celebratory. Many talk of how powerless they felt in the face of an implacable, invisible foe. In some cases, the coronavirus sparked innovation as researchers adapted existing technologies to new uses; in others, it sent them back to the drawing board. The only thing that didn’t change was their faith in the importance of scientific progress for keeping humanity safe.

To get a better sense of how technology was used in China’s struggle with the coronavirus — and how it might be used going forward — Sixth Tone asked seven scientists, researchers, and experts to share their stories.