Post-vaccine world - GulfToday

Post-vaccine world


For illustrative purpose only.

This is with reference to your news, “Artificial intelligence paves the way for UAE’s future” (Oct. 20). This is a step in the right direction. In post pandemic world also, it will be necessary  to keep operating contactless for some time.

The world may continue to face disruptions, for some years, even after five or six vaccines are cleared for inoculation. Now, vaccines normally take three to five years or even more, to be tested comprehensively. Unfortunately, the impact of COVID-19 has been massive and horrendous. Companies and governments have had to accelerate the discovery and testing of vaccines.

The impact of various vaccines on arresting COVID-19 and whether they have any side-effects, will have to be monitored. If any vaccine fails to deliver results conclusively, expect some countries or areas to go into lockdowns again. So, masks, social distancing may last for some years, till the vaccines prove themselves. Thus, it will not be smooth sailing after the vaccines are commissioned. We will have to be vigilant.

Digitisation and artificial intelligence will be deployed increasingly in businesses, to reduce dependence on human labour. Human beings can catch a virus like COVID-19. Machines do not catch viruses. Therefore, production does not stop, if workers are absent or sick. Businesses will actively review whether some functions can be delegated to machines and robots. For instance, expect more security cameras in supermarkets and less human guards. Again, in consumer product factories, expect more automated packing machines, with reduced workmen.

Finally, businesses will have be more flexible in managing highly skilled professionals. Post the pandemic, many skilled professionals may seek incremental elasticities like continuing to work from home, working alternate days at the office, etc., due to the age factor or comorbidities. So, companies will have to review their personnel policies to accommodate their staff.

Rajendra Aneja
Mumbai, India

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