Inflection points in society create opportunities. The rise of online video was an inflection point that enabled scalable online education. The rise of the GPS-enabled smartphones similarly enabled Uber, Lyft, Airbnb, and many other services. Today, the rise of deep learning is transforming many industries.
Covid-19 is both a tragedy and an inflection point.
- Working from home seems to be here to stay. Several of my California-based teams no longer hire exclusively in the state, but anywhere within three hours of our time zone. As more companies do this, it will open up job opportunities while intensifying the need for remote collaboration tools.
- Many parts of society seem to be accepting some Covid tracking tools to improve safety, even if they modestly sacrifice privacy.
- Industries such as air travel, tourism, and commercial real estate are being decimated and will have to adapt as demand remains suppressed for the foreseeable future.
- Many schools have scrambled to go online. As learners worldwide get used to studying remotely, many won’t want to go back to the old way.
- Untold numbers of workers are unemployed. When we eventually bring unemployment down again, the distribution of jobs will be very different than it is today.
We have powerful AI tools at our disposal, and we can use them to meet this inflection point. Our community can build better collaboration tools, find ways to retrain displaced workers, implement Covid tracking systems that protect civil liberties even as they promote public health, bring decimated brick-and-mortar businesses online, and invent new jobs that can be done from home. The work we do today will lay the foundation for the tomorrow we live in.
How can we navigate these tumultuous changes and help the most vulnerable? My teams will be trying to do our part, and I hope you will too.