The Pandemic’s Impacts on Computing Systems and Unemployment Rates

Earlier this year, the coronavirus outbreak severely impacted the United States’ economy, bringing it to large gaps of regression and decline. Along with it, tangled webs of outdated computer software resulted in fallouts as people progressed through the ongoing crisis. As individuals stayed home and businesses closed down, the country recorded an increased unemployment rate from March’s 4.4 percent up to April’s 14.7 percent. The state’s workless population spike sparked more political unrest stirring with this year’s election season.

The previously mentioned problems are already clearly evident in society’s eyes. However, a slow-burn technological disaster emerged as thousands of people lost their jobs and businesses from the raging pandemic. Due to the influx of individuals attempting to apply for welfare benefits online, outdated computer systems started to break out one-by-one, unable to process hundreds and thousands of technological requests. The United States’ increased unemployment rate caused many to struggle with how to fix such technical issues due to lack of knowledge and experience.

Furthermore, the fallout problem is far off from the real and secluded one. Outworn underpin IT systems around the globe and old-time programming languages are the ones responsible for the world’s current technological dilemmas. Now that an unexpected and long-term emergency disaster like COVID-19 exists, people finally realized how crucial updating computing systems is to assist and help in times of calamities. In this period where physical contact is not applicable, many depend on online activities to process errands that we usually do in person, such as doing banking transactions, purchasing airplane tickets, paying government taxes, and many more. As unemployment rates continue to surge, the demand for revisiting and studying computer codes becomes dire for us to prepare ourselves once a wide-scale crisis strikes humanity again.

IBM’s Coding Challenge and Altran’s “Are You Well?” Mobile App

To start addressing such issues in the programming industry, IBM established its third annual Call for Code challenge – a worldwide initiative to solve global problems by urging developers to create solutions through the art of coding. In the past, multiple contests of the same theme announced the creation of technologies that can aid people after calamities and apps to reduce the impacts of natural disasters. Collaborating with David Clark Clause and the United Nations’ Human Rights Office for this year’s challenge, IBM provided two tracks to help beat the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change.

The COVID-19 pandemic course’s three areas of focus are enhancing remote education, encouraging community cooperation, and aiding overwhelmed crisis communication systems. To give participants ideas on what to make, IBM also releases starter kits that include the problem’s summary along with a recommended technological solution, such as delivery services, chatbots, and many more. Additionally, the tools also come with guides, data sets, and tutorials.

Due to the pandemic’s increasing demand for professionals to speed up the research process on how to end it, IBM urged its contestants to submit their applications on or before April 27. During IBM’s Think Digital Event on May 5, the group announced its challenge’s three winners for the COVID-19 track.

One of the winners for the COVID-19 track challenge is India’s engineering and R&D services firm Altran, who built the “Are You Well?” mobile app. The app helps reduce the influx of people visiting hospitals to discuss their coronavirus signs. Using the app, people can type in their symptoms and linking it to a patient monitoring dashboard. The control panel includes health care professionals’ risk level thresholds for coronavirus cases. The app aims to prevent people from risking themselves to visit a hospital and get a medical appointment.