This is my last entry on this blog. I had good fun writing it, most of the time. My blogging was infrequent, but I enjoyed having a home away from social media where I was able to jot down my thoughts.
My last post is almost three years old. On March 15, 2020, I wrote about my outlook on the COVID pandemic. I expressed hope that a vaccine would be available within the year, which turned out to be the case. But many other hopes did not materialize, or in a different way.
How the world has changed since then! Or has it? Maybe it’s not the world that’s changed, but my perspective. I have morphed from a general optimist to a long-term optimist and short-term pessimist. Pre-pandemic, I always thought that the world would solve its problems by being reasonable, i.e. guided by science and using responsible technology. Post-pandemic, I still think the world will solve its problems in the long term, but it will get there in a very messy, chaotic, human way where science and technology are only a small part of the equation in the short term.
While I found that initially frustrating, I am now looking at it with a sense of awe, and humility. And it's boosted my motivation to do my part, however small, to ensure that the voice of science and responsible technology is heard.
Personally, most of that activity goes into an organization that acts on the local level (in Switzerland) called CH++, where I am working with an incredibly talented & growing group to strengthen the scientific and technological competencies of politics, authorities and civil society.
Professionally, the COVID-19 pandemic has been an eye-opener for me in terms of the potential of digital epidemiology. I’m thrilled for the advancements that will be made in the coming years and decades, and I’ll do everything in my power to help steer it in the right direction. This spring, I’ll be teaching a digital epidemiology class at EPFL, and I’ll be releasing a book along with it. I’m also launching a digital epidemiology substack to write about interesting developments (past, present, and future) in the field.
I am sunsetting this blog because writing takes a lot of time, and good writing takes even more time. A few years ago, I started a newsletter on AI & applied machine learning, but the field is simply too vast. Therefore, I have decided to focus on the one area that truly fascinates me beyond everything else - digital epidemiology. If you want to give it a try, it’s over at digitalepi.substack.com. I’ll post my first piece in the coming days.
So long, and thanks for reading!