The World after Coronavirus

Yuval Noah Harrari, well-known for best-seller author of ‘Sapiens’ and ‘Homo Deus’

Yuval Harrari suggests that the choices we make now could change our lives for years to come. We are facing two important choices; The first is totalitarian surveillance and citizen empowerment. The second is between nationalist isolation and global solidarity.

The First Choice: In order to stop epidemic, several governments already deployed new surveillance tools that make use of the bio data; from your body temperature and blood pressure to face and fingerprint identification. This is a whole new level of monitoring compared to over-the-skin data collecting like which postings you clicked on facebook. Then what will happen if these practices are justified enough to monitor your bio data? Imagine North Korea and China in 2030. It is naive to think that surveillance on bio data will stay temporary. One can assume that Covid-19 could ignite the war between surveillance and privacy in a serious level. The root of the problem actually starts from asking people to choose between health and privacy. We can and should choose both if we rely on high standard of citizenship, not totalitarian surveillance. Provided that citizens become fully aware and acknowledged with right knowledge of the virus and the risks it might bring, we would not need Big Brother to watch over our shoulders. One of representative examples is washing hands with soap. There is no police forcing you to wash your hands. But this simple and voluntary action has saved countless people from disease and encouraged human hygiene to the next level. In fact, we will need mutual trust between government and people to overcome Coronavirus; the government should stay transparent based on scientific data and the people should closely observe and participate in decision making process.

The Second Choice : Nations are confronting choices between nationalist isolation and global solidarity. Like economic crisis, Coronavirus can be defeated effectively only by global co-operation. The governments should be willing to share information across the border. This is a human war we are fighting; countries should be willing to humbly seek advices, take global effort to produce and distribute medical supplies such as testing kits and set global agreement on traveling. Now US has left the void on the job of leader to control global epidemic and shown that it cares more for the greatness of America and less for the future of humanity. Even now they can and should realize that this crisis can also be an opportunity; By encouraging powerful global solidarity to win a global victory not only against Coronavirus but also against the future epidemics and crisis that might assail our next generations to come.

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