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Internet holds the key to the post-coronavirus era

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API Geo-economic Briefing is a series provided by the Asia Pacific Initiative, an independent think tank based in Tokyo. The series will look into geopolitical and economic trends in the post-COVID-19 world, with a particular focus on four areas: technology and innovation; global supply chains; international rule-making and climate change.

The coronavirus pandemic has taught us that the skillful and sensible use of the internet will allow us to navigate through this crisis with the minimum possible damage.

Unmanned, remote and contactless technologies will inevitably be embedded into our economic system in the so-called With Corona era, in which people live with the virus, accepting the risk of infection as part of everyday life. When such a society takes root, the fourth industrial revolution, driven by artificial intelligence, blockchain, Internet of Things, drones, autonomous driving and fifth-generation (or 5G) high-speed wireless networks, will only advance at a faster speed.

At this point in time, there is a huge gap between countries and regions that are leading in digital transformation and those that lag behind, in terms of finding, tracing and isolating coronavirus patients and people who have had close contact with them, keeping others healthy and keeping society moving. Digitally advanced countries and regions have boldly introduced telemedicine, online education and teleworking. The ability of all countries to put technological innovations into practice will be crucial to the success of reconstructing virus-hit economies.

Yet COVID-19 is posing a historically significant challenge to what I call the “Internet Civilization,” as we approach a situation in which the internet becomes an essential part of our lives. Given the evolution of the internet in the past 30 to 40 years, where does it fit and what is its significance today?

The internet is not the product of the U.S. military, nor the result of a single nation’s industrial policy and nor was it spawned as a result of a democratic process.

The anarchy of the internet has a........

© The Japan Times