Is it Great Depression time in America?
As we work together to combat COVID-19, much of America is shuttered and our economy stopped. We need to keep people safe, no doubt about it, but if we don’t keep the economy moving there’s a world of hurt in store for us all.
In the midst of crisis Bill Gates had this to say: “There really is no middle ground, and it’s very tough to say to people, ‘Hey, keep going to restaurants, go buy new houses, ignore that pile of bodies over in the corner. We want you to keep spending because there’s maybe a politician who thinks GDP growth is all that counts…’ It’s very irresponsible for somebody to suggest that we can have the best of both worlds.”
Is that the best you’ve got? How 20th century of you, Bill!
Years ago we played close heed to Mr. Gates when he explained how the digital revolution would change how we do things. I remember Gates saying that he found it ridiculous that anyone would ever sit through an entire TV newscast again, if what they were waiting for was the weather. The digital revolution would enable us to sort through information and target what we need with laser precision.
How right he was.
Now to hear him insist that the bulk of the economy remain shut down is very disappointing.
What we actually need to do is use the digital revolution to differentiate people, businesses and all human activities to make individual assessments of who needs the most protection, what needs to stay shut and what can safely reopen.
Facebook, Microsoft and others announced that they are going to team up with the World Health Organization and conduct a “hackathon” to create digital solutions to the COVID-19 challenge.
That’s more like it!
Check out these Microsoft guys, Mr. Gates, we hear they’ve got a deep pool of talent to draw on.
We need to “hack” the government. One-size-fits-all, blanket solutions are second nature to governments. Precision and innovation is not the bureaucracy’s forté. Time for our best innovators to provide their expertise and lead.
We should use digital solutions to identify which parts of the economy can reopen safely, what geographic areas are safer than others, who’s least at risk, who needs the most protection, and what precautions need to be taken — and take action.
It’s time to microtarget and function.
We challenge Bill Gates and the rest of the titans of tech to harness their resources and knowledge and bring them to bear.
Failing to function is not an option.