Outpacing the Virus: New Whitepaper Published

Three weeks ago, the US seemed to have trouble taking COVID-19 seriously. I wrote about how I focused my annual Pi Day video around sneakily getting information to people who were resistant to seeking it out. I was skeptical that the US would pull together the political will to take the measures necessary to slow the spread of this virus.

 In the week that followed everything changed, with lockdowns and stay-at-home policies going into place, and the two weeks between then and now feel like a year.

At first, I tried to resist digging in on what I thought might be solutions and focus on understanding a bigger picture of the situation and the impact on the future. I ended up focusing on trying to understand one area where I was seeing a lot of misinformation and miscommunication, particularly technological responses to the virus.

And so, in a massive collaboration involving a dozen experts in different fields, we wrote an extremely comprehensive and up-to-date whitepaper on contact tracing for COVID-19 and mitigating privacy concerns, and it is very good!

Here is the link to the paper: https://ethics.harvard.edu/outpacing-virus

Here is a Washington Post op-ed that references us: https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/04/03/we-need-tech-government-help-with-contact-tracing-that-doesnt-have-mean-big-brother/ 

I’m extremely proud of this paper, and of my collaborators. It’s been a pleasure to work with such amazing folks jumping in with passion and enthusiasm together on this common goal. I learned so much in the past week.

I hope all of you are staying safe and finding ways to be you in this new world.