How to strengthen our products, schools, hospitals and society
Moderator: Ralph Talmont, founder of Boma Poland
Live from: Warsaw, Poland
Start time: 4:00 p.m. UTC
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Kacper Nosarzewski notes that for scientists who study the evolution of viruses, it is not a surprise that this pandemic would hit. However, he states that nobody could predict for certain when it would happen or exactly what would happen. This is why scientists run predictive simulations. "Their models are not meant to be precise predictions of future pandemics; they are meant to stretch the imagination of policy-makers and decision-makers who often tend to focus on fighting the problems of yesterday rather than those of tomorrow."
Robert Mołdach, CEO, Institute of Health and Democracy, brings our attention to the burden of the crisis on our healthcare systems as well as our economic systems. He states that, "the current crisis, which is predominantly discussed in terms of health outcomes, should also be analyzed and discussed in terms of economics and social restrictions. We should talk not only about saving lives - but also about saving livelihoods."
Medical Director of Sundose, Agnieszka Gaczkowska, raises the concern of the lack of funding for the public health sector. This is because the results of epidemic and pandemic prevention are long-term, but the economic consequences are short term. For this reason, it hasn’t been a desirable place for governments to put money in. She says we need to change this type of thinking.
Experience designer, Aga Szostec, discusses the phenomena of positive adaption. She notes that it takes time for new habits to form. The lockdown in Poland is predicted to last a month, maybe more. "It will take time for discussions such as remote work and remote learning to get rooted into our habits. But eventually they will be part of our new status quo."
Moderator, Ralph Talmont, shifts the conversation to sustainable travel, noting that the virus has demonstrated how much the global community is connected.
Sustainable travel writers, Audrey Scott and Daniel Noll, note that destinations like Venice, Barcelona, Iceland that were experiencing over-tourism can use this pause button to rebuild tourism in a more sustainable way. Once people feel safe again, they will travel - even if its just focused on regional and domestic locations for a couple of years. How we travel might be a bit different. They hope the focus will be more on how we affect local communities during our travel.
Atish Gonsalves discusses the possibility of VR in distance learning, as it involves behavioral learning and interaction. He notes that we need to make distance learning much more human and social, remarking that "for good learning to be designed you need to involve your learner in the process." At the same time, he reminds us that there will be more challenges in distance learning for communities that don’t have the digital infrastructure to support this shift.
Ralph Talmont shifts the subject to the plight of refugees, reminding us that there are currently 7 million displaced people.
In response, Robert Mołdach states, “We have limited resources and now we are using all of them on one action. But at some point, we should start deciding how we will allocate the capacity of our health system. How much we help coronavirus patients, how much we help other patients, and how much we help immigrants or people in other parts of the world. The sooner we start discussing it the better for everyone. We live in a world of limited resources.”
Ralph Talmont asks his panelists about the effect of the current crisis on our sense of community and how we live in cities.
Aga Szostec responds by noting that, "Initially, in crises situations, people think of protecting themselves but eventually they realize that they need their community in order to survive. In neighborhoods we see and will see more people supporting each other, but we also see virtual communities supporting each other in new and interesting ways.
Adding to this, Kacper Nosarzewski remarks that we should not overestimate the level of change that the current pandemic will have on our social norms. It is not as if there will no longer be big social events or large business meetings. "What brought us here is our inability to imagine that the future will be different from our present. We should not imagine now a future of isolation and social distancing - coronavirus is not the only factor of our reality."
Daniel Noll ends the session by reminding us of our human need for social contact. "Travel and technology facilitate human contact. We have it in us to create solutions to get around these circumstances of restriction and isolation. We have a choice before us now. So far we have built a fragile system because we have put growth as a priority. Now we have the opportunity to rebuild things differently" states Daniel.
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