How Future Tech has Evolved with COVID-19

Relatively unfamiliar until a year ago, the word ‘pandemic’ now dictates our daily lives. Unlike other similar events like the Spanish flu or the Plague, the COVID-19 pandemic has happened in an era where the rate of technological development is at a historic high. For instance, Viraj Tyagi, CEO of eGov Foundation, says that the COVID e-pass platform was developed and deployed in eight states within 72 hours of the implementation of the nation-wide lockdown. With trends like remote monitoring of the sick, work-from-home and online shopping becoming the new normal, future tech plays a huge role in how we have adapted to the changing situation.


In this article, we will look at how technology has helped to address the COVID crisis, especially the fields of data science and analytics, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and UI/UX design. We’ll draw inspiration from this for what 2021 will hold and how you can take the driver’s seat for your career.

Future Tech: How COVID is Shaping Tech and Vice Versa

The early fear that career opportunities in tech will fall during the economic downturn is being replaced by the confidence that technology can ably complement human efforts and create jobs. India is at the forefront of this wave: BBC reported that researchers at CSIR-Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology (IGIB) successfully created a paper-based coronavirus testing kit that, at about Rs 500, would give results in an hour!

With Silicon Valley companies steadily investing big in India and a third IT outsourcing wave expected, the prospects for tech jobs are encouraging. Let’s look back at the most important developments this year and what it means for future tech in the post-COVID world.

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#1 Domain-specific AI/ML Gains Popularity

AI helps to reduce manual effort in an activity by making machines mimic human behaviour. This came in handy, especially in the early days of the pandemic, when it was essential to make sure that the least number of people were exposed to the virus. In 2020, AI technologies changed diagnosis and healthcare delivery.

2020 Use Cases

AI tools helped create simple and effective ways of testing for the virus. A voice-based diagnosis application created by students in Mumbai analyses voice samples according to parameters like frequency and noise distortion and delivers results after comparing them to that of a healthy person.

Robots help reduce patient contact in hospitals and care centres. MeD Robo, fabricated in Visakhapatnam, delivers food, medicines and monitors the temperatures of COVID patients, effectively shielding healthcare workers from frequent interaction.

Healthcare, which has been lacklustre in adopting these technologies, don’t have the choice anymore. Remote consultation, automated lab testing, electronic medical records etc. will soon become the default standard. This will open up unique career opportunities for AI professionals in the domain.

Sreehari Ravindranath, our AI/ML career coach believes that the COVID period is also a good time to upskill to AI/ML if you’re already a healthcare professional — because you know the domain and are likely to help achieve greater accuracy. This also goes for all industries.

2021 possibilities

In 2021, we believe that generic AI will give way to more domain-specific approaches. It will take into account contextual factors, data security, privacy, regional compliance needs etc. to put AI into more effective use.

If you’re looking to grab an opportunity in AI/ML, here are some top skills you’ll need:

  • Python programming
  • Statistical inference
  • TensorFlow
  • Deep learning
  • Machine learning
  • Natural Language Processing (NLP)

#2 Advanced Analytics Becomes Omnipresent

Even if you’ve never seen advanced analytics in action before, you would have since COVID struck. The various kinds of numbers you see everyday — testing rates, number of cases per day, percentage of deaths, vulnerable groups, country-wise reports etc. — are all available only as a result of advanced global analytics systems.

Public health strategies like ‘flattening the curve’ are also devised on the basis of such numbers. One could argue that collecting mass data and analysing it has gained new importance for both the private and public sector, as a legitimate means to solve complex problems.

2020 use cases

Database management systems have helped to handle the large volume of data produced. Home Quarantine & Isolation Management System (HQMIS), is one such, used by the Greater Chennai Corporation to monitor those under home quarantine. Data was collected from 18 sources, cleaned and dispatched to area heads. The HQIMS app also provided a data visualization dashboard with reader-friendly results.

Insights were key to making the ‘new normal’ work. Large companies had to revamp their operations to the work from home style. Cognizant, for example, built an analytics stack to make quicker and more informed decisions.

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2021 possibilities

The prospects look good too. Salesforce alone plans to add 5,48,00 direct jobs and 1.3 million indirect jobs in India, according to chief data evangelist Vala Afshar. This is good news. If you’re hoping to prepare for a career in data analytics, here are some skills and tools you’ll need:

  • MS Excel
  • Programming with R or Python
  • Building queries with SQL
  • Data visualisation
  • Software libraries like Apache Hadoop

#3 Intuitive Design as the Foundation of Better Virtual Experiences

A natural consequence of being homebound for months together is that people now rely on their phones and computers even for activities that were hitherto done offline. This has opened a window for companies to strengthen their online audience by giving them the best virtual experience.

2020 use cases

Companies have rethought their virtual offering to improve online brand engagement. Luxury shoe brand Christian Louboutin recently launched a virtual universe on a South Korean gaming platform that lets users’ avatars try on collections showcased in the Paris Fashion Week.

COVID related apps have increased the demand for good UI/UX design. These include apps for receiving information, tracing (eg: Aarogya Setu app), monitoring, to online shopping, delivery, fitness etc.

2021 possibilities

Unlike data jobs, UI/UX design is accessible to a larger population as it does not require a tech background. The most important tool for a designer is an intuition for good design, and comfort with a few design tools. These might be:

  • Research tools like Google Analytics, UserZoom
  • Balsamiq for wireframing
  • Invision for product design
  • Figma for interface design
  • Presentation tools such as Powerpoint

Launch a Future Tech Career in 2021

The biggest lesson from 2020 is that: Technology is only as good as the impact it can make. We noticed that experimental technology projects were growing slower when compared to existing technology adoption. This meant that:

  1. Domain experts are on par with technology experts.
  2. Analytics that enabled decisions were valued higher than reports that just presented numbers.
  3. Design is used to shape a user’s feelings, emotions and decisions, far beyond simply being pretty.

At Springboard, our experts keep an eye out for these trends and regularly upgrade the programs to be job-ready. All of Springboard’s programs prioritise practical expertise and industry application.

Exceptional Illinois privacy law qualified prospects to $550M Facebook deal


Unique Illinois privacy law leads to $550M Facebook deal
This July 16, 2013, file picture, demonstrates a signal at Fb headquarters in Menlo Park, Calif. Adam Pezen, Carlo Licata and Nimesh Patel are amongst the billions of Fb people who use the web-site to keep up with buddies. And like tens of millions of other folks, the 3 adult males shared their have images and were being “tagged” in other snapshots posted by buddies, often at the urging of the site’s prompt tag feature.   But their Illinois addresses place the trio’s names atop a lawsuit in opposition to Facebook and led to a landmark $550 million settlement very last month. (AP Picture/Ben Margot, File)

Adam Pezen, Carlo Licata and Nimesh Patel are among millions of people who have been tagged in Facebook images at some level in the past decade, sometimes at the suggestion of an automatic tagging element driven by facial recognition technology.

It was their Illinois addresses, though, that put the trio’s names atop a lawsuit that Fb not too long ago agreed to settle for $550 million, which could lead to payouts of a few hundred pounds to various million Illinois users of the social networking web site.

The lawsuit—one of a lot more than 400 submitted from tech firms huge and tiny in the previous five years, by one legislation firm’s count—alleges that Facebook broke Illinois’ demanding biometric privateness regulation that makes it possible for people today to sue corporations that are unsuccessful to get consent ahead of harvesting consumers’ info, like via facial and fingerprint scanning. Privacy advocates hail the law as the nation’s strongest kind of defense in the business use of these knowledge, and it has survived ongoing attempts by the tech business and other enterprises to weaken it.

Lawyers who concentrate on privateness regulation forecast that the Fb settlement—if authorized by a federal judge—will result in a new round of lawsuits and make the targets of present kinds additional probably to settle. Illinois’ legal landscape also could form debates about privacy defense in other states and in Congress, especially about whether or not persons need to have the correct to sue over violations.

“We’re likely to see a great deal of constituents stating, ‘Why not me?'” said Jay Edelson, a Chicago lawyer whose agency initially sued Fb for allegedly breaking Illinois’ law. “This settlement, it truly is likely to actually make the place that acquiring legal guidelines on the publications is the distinction between individuals finding to go to court and receiving serious relief, and otherwise just finding trampled by these tech corporations.”

Although the acquiring and advertising of customer details has turn out to be a multi-billion-dollar sector, Illinois’ law—the Biometric Information Privacy Act—predates even Facebook’s iconic “like” attribute and was a reaction to a one firm’s flop.

Shell out By Touch, a startup that teamed with grocery merchants to provide fingerprint-centered payments, experienced long gone bankrupt and was predicted to auction off its assets, like its database of users’ information. Apprehensive about where by that user knowledge would wind up, Illinois lawmakers speedily passed a law in 2008 demanding corporations to get consent prior to amassing biometric facts and to generate a policy specifying how that info will be retained and when it will be destroyed.

It also gave Illinois citizens the suitable to sue for $1,000 over negligent violations and $5,000 for intentional violations.

For decades, “literally absolutely nothing happened,” mentioned John Fitzgerald, a Chicago legal professional and creator of a e-book on the regulation that is thanks out this yr. He could not obtain any report of a scenario submitted in advance of 2015.

Edelson’s company and some others that concentration on course-motion satisfies ended up initial, accusing Fb of failing to satisfy Illinois’ normal in a number of lawsuits submitted in 2015. The 3 Illinois males fronting the course-motion fit against Facebook mentioned they were being never ever explained to that the site’s photo tagging method utilised facial recognition technology to evaluate shots then develop and store “face templates.”

A federal judge later grouped the situations with each other as a class-motion on behalf of Illinois Fb people who have been amid the stored face templates as of June 7, 2011.

Facebook only changed the technology last calendar year. The tag suggestion resource was replaced a broader facial recognition environment, which is turned off by default.

The Illinois legislation is the foundation for two the latest fits submitted towards Clearview AI, a facial recognition firm that harvests photos by scraping social media web pages and other areas and then sells entry to its database to legislation enforcement businesses.

Fb, Twitter, Venmo and YouTube have all demanded that Clearview stop harvesting their users’ visuals pursuing investigative experiences by The New York Moments and Buzzfeed.

While there are Illinois lawsuits from other significant tech companies, including Google, Snapchat and Shutterfly, the broad bulk of the scenarios are submitted on behalf of workforce who were directed to use fingerprint scanning units to keep track of their operate hours and who accuse businesses or the systems’ creators of failing to get their prior consent.

Illinois is 1 of three states that have regulations governing the use of biometric facts. But the other two, Texas and Washington, don’t allow individual lawsuits, instead delegating enforcement to their attorneys common.

The state’s Chamber of Commerce and tech field teams have backed amendments to gut Illinois’ allowance of personal lawsuits or exempt time-maintaining programs.

Illinois’ regulation places “litigation about innovation,” said Tyler Diers, the Illinois and Midwest executive director of the business team TechNet, whose members involve Apple, Fb and Google.

“This circumstance exemplifies why purchaser privacy regulation really should empower condition regulators to enforce rather than line the pockets of class action attorneys,” Diers mentioned in a assertion.

Experiencing Illinois’ law, some organizations decide out of the condition. Sony, for occasion, refuses to offer its “aibo” robot canine to Illinois people and suggests the device’s potential to behave in a different way towards personal persons relies upon on facial recognition technological innovation.

Backers of the law argue that it really is not tricky to comply—simply explain to consumers you approach to use biometric facts and get their consent.

State Rep. Ann Williams, a Chicago Democrat, reported the capacity to sue is significant for individuals struggling with global providers that make billions of bucks for each 12 months.

“If the penalty’s only a fine, that is the value of executing company for them,” Williams reported. “A settlement like (the Fb situation), we are speaking about true funds that will go to buyers.”

Lawyers who defend more compact businesses, nevertheless, argue that the legislation should be narrowed to permit the use of fingerprint scanners to keep track of employees’ hrs.

“Modest and medium-measurement companies actually do not have the means to defend these scenarios or fork out some huge settlement,” said Mary Smigielski, a partner at Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith and a co-chief of the firm’s group centered on Illinois’ biometric law.

The Fb situation wound by means of courtrooms in Illinois and California for almost 5 decades just before final month’s announcement of a settlement, days right after the U.S. Supreme Courtroom declined to hear arguments.

Edelson reported he hopes that the $550 million offer, which lawyers on the circumstance explained as a document sum for a privateness declare, will set force on attorneys to refuse credit history monitoring or negligible money payouts that are much more common in agreements to take care of knowledge privacy satisfies.

Folks suitable for the settlement will be contacted directly and you should not want to consider any action right up until then, attorneys on the circumstance explained.

Fb agrees to $550 million settlement in facial recognition class motion lawsuit

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One of a kind Illinois privateness legislation prospects to $550M Facebook deal (2020, February 9)
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