COVID-19 pandemic could usher in a ‘New Digital Age,’ study claims
The study suggests that COVID-19 can be used as a chance to rebuild the nation, by making Israel the starting point for solutions its own society needs, and then for the planet.
By HAGAY HACOHEN
Israel should focus on its unique strengths in the fields of Artificial Intelligence (AI), Augmented Reality (AR), Autonomous Technologies and the Internet of Things (IoT) to be ahead of the new digital age being ushered in by the COVID-19 pandemic, a study by Start-Up Nation Central claimed on Monday.Since the novel coronavirus has disrupted existing supply chains and industries, the report argues that Israeli talents could promote innovative solutions. AR means could be used to take over some aspects of customer service and manufacturing. As more and more people are expected to work and purchase goods and services from home, cyber security demands are expected to grow. The ever pressing need to break infection chains and monitor COVID-19 outbreaks in communities will up demand for digital health, monitoring and decision-making tools. It would also allow people to meet remotely, or get much needed advice from a medical expert in a safe and easy manner. No longer will one need to drive or fly to a special clinic to get what might be a lifesaving advice. Since human workers can become infected, while robots can’t, COVID-19 is expected to increase the demands for robots in most industries and up demand in the ag-tech industry to ensure societies will have the ability to meet demand for food even if supply chains are disrupted. The study recommends that the state invests in policies to encourage hi-tech firms to remain in the country as their success often has a spill-over effect for the rest of the society. While Israeli hi-tech seems to still attract a great deal of off-shore investment, the report remarks that it takes months to secure funding, so it's possible the market is simply riding on previously made deals. It suggested reducing the reliance on foreign capital and trying to encourage local institutions to invest in hi-tech. The study further claims that the population producing most of the national innovative talent, non-haredi (ultra-Orthodox) men, is "nearly exhausted" and recommends including more social groups in the hi-tech growth engine.It warned of the dangers ahead should more hi-tech companies relocate their headquarters abroad and the alleged "great salaries" in the market deepen the divide between Israelis who are in hi-tech and those who aren’t. The study suggests that COVID-19 can be used as a chance to rebuild the nation, by making Israel the starting point for solutions its own society needs, and then for the planet.
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