Nearly one month ago, IBM in partnership with the United Nations Human Rights and the Linux Foundation had announced climate change as the theme for the 2020 Call for Code Global Challenge. However, much has changed in the brief period since then. COVID-19 (coronavirus) has spread across the world with unprecedented effect and now has the potential to become the greatest crisis of modern times. From its inception, Call for Code was created to take on societyâ€™s most pressing issues, which is why this yearâ€™s Challenge has been expanded to address both climate change and COVID-19, two urgent crises that have the power to compromise our health, our planet, and our survival. IBM is asking asking developers, data scientists, and problem solvers to answer the Call.
In a very short period of time, COVID-19 has revealed the limits of the systems that are taken for granted. The 2020 Call for Code Global Challenge will arm you with resources (see here) to build open source technology solutions that address three main COVID-19 areas: crisis communication during an emergency, ways to improve remote learning, and how to inspire cooperative local communities.
Crisis communication: In times of crisis, communications systems are one of the first systems to become overwhelmed. Chatbots help respond to tens, even hundreds, of thousands of messages a day. Whether via text, websites, or communication apps like WhatsApp being able to converse with chatbots, and other resources can play a critical role in helping communities understand everything they need to know rapidly and free up customer service resources to focus on higher-level issues. Whether thatâ€™s correct hand washing procedures, how to properly detect symptoms, or local updates on quarantine, providing crisis communications digitally has a major role to play.
Remote education: Where possible, people who are self-isolating are being asked to work from home, which presents its own set of challenges: transitioning to a new home office or as some schools close for the foreseeable future, children find themselves stuck indoors for long periods of time. It is important to keep them engaged, entertained, and on top of their education. Technology has a pivotal role to play, whether thatâ€™s creating ad hoc classrooms, or helping parents quickly adapt to homeschooling.
Community cooperation: Your local community must stand united, operate efficiently, and be there for its constituents more than ever before. Understanding not only what is happening in your neighbourhood, but also how you can help others, or how others can help you, is vital. Consider how you can incorporate everything from weather data to local food and medical supply information to help your local community better deal with a crisis â€” especially those who need it most.