Swine flu, Pandemics, and IT

Published: April 27th, 2009
A sow and her piglet.Image via Wikipedia

Chris Lau’s recent post gotme thinking a bit……just what is the impact of Information Technology onhelping to prevent, or even publicizing, the potential disasters such aSARS, the breaking news on Swine Flu and even things like weather events.

First, we hear all the gory details faster than ever before.  Thatcan be positive – we can all be more careful if we need to “hunkerdown” for the worst case.  It can be negative – the potential for panicis never more real.

Second, there’s more information out there that can help us protectourselves.  For example, Wikipedia has a posting on Swine Flu – let’sjust hope its accurate.

Third, it allows governments to exchange information and findingsthat permit a coordinated response to counter the threat.  Its alsogood that each country doen’t need to “re-invent the wheel” in buildingdefenses and even in building computer systems to help out.

Fourth, IT can become a diagnostic tool, especially when thesolutions aren’t readily apparent.  Data mining to look for patternsand trends can be invaluable.  Especially to see if counter-measuresare effective.

I’m sure there many other ways that IT can help in these majorevents, both for positive effect and also to do harm.   Comment if youhave some other ideas……..

  • Swine flu: let the mashups begin (guardian.co.uk)
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