Challenges for science and Technology in the post-COVID-19 era
In addition to its impact on our health and well-being, the Covid 19 epidemic has had a variety of significant societal, scientific and technological impacts, on top of its obvious adverse impact on the world economy. A major transformation that we have experienced is in the way we communicate and interact for every-day life, but also for science and business. In this period, the scientific community, as well as business, have learned to communicate via conference calls, and a variety of specific network platforms for video-conferencing have had great success. On the other hand, some of the promises offered by Information Technology have not been met, such as accurate epidemic modelling to aid in policy choices, or contact tracing to aid in epidemic prediction and control. At the same time, we have witnessed a surge in unreliable “publications”, including with regard to Covid 19 itself, so that the importance of open and free – access to reliable scientific information has once again shown its great importance. While we have substantially saved on the CO2 impact and economic cost of travel for scientific dissemination, commuting for work and education, and tourism, the energy consumption hence CO2 impact of ICT has also increased, together with the increased need for ICT equipment which itself has an environmental impact in both energy for manufacturing and rare metals and materials, etc. The economic relaunch after Covid 19, also poses problems related to negotiating a path that has the best possible impact with regard to Climate Change, including in the choice of the most judicious investments for the very future of Climate Change.