Understand New Technology: How a Digital Earth Stops Pandemics and Bio-Terror Attacks

This new technology is from the forthcoming book Medicine 2025: How a Digital Earth Protects Everyone

Let’s compare a Digital Earth to what actually happened in 2009. That year’s Swine Flu Pandemic started in Veracruz, Mexico, and it took months before it was discovered.

By 2025 the Centers for Disease Control has been rebuilt as the Center for Health Expansion (CHE), the nation’s strategic healthcare firewall. It’s our country’s protection against infectious disease outbreaks that can start anywhere in the world. Because bio-terror has become a real threat from terrorists, the CHE’s strategic responsibilities are considered as vital as the U.S. Army, Navy and Air Force.

Abelow - GE - 11Dec2014.040

A back-end Expandiverse platform provides a seamless Shared Spaces user experience:

  • User recognition means screens follow and serve each person with persistent connections as he or she switches devices.
  • A network of Shared Spaces provides both focused and broad abilities:  Each Shared Space has its own set of focused people, places, tools, data and resources — but because it’s easy to add any person or resource between Shared Spaces, the whole network is a powerful combined resource.
  • Proven Active Knowledge adds many kinds of situational capabilities that are available whenever wanted.

Think about a world where a continuously connected platform enables every organization — not just the CHE — to respond globally. In minutes they can apply a broad range of flexible capabilities that include people and resources as needed. Think about a world that spots issues by using data, then uses Shared Spaces and proven protocols to develop solutions in minutes and hours — not in days, weeks or months.

On a real-time Digital Earth, the time is now, the place is everywhere, the resources are from everyone, and the methods are flexible and creative.

Let’s compare how the CHE operated in 2025 to what actually happened in 2009. That year’s Swine Flu Pandemic started in Veracruz, Mexico, and it took months before it was discovered. In 2009 we had today’s “advanced” technologies:  the Internet, Skype calls, Twitter, Facebook and much more, but we didn’t have a CHE with Shared Spaces and continuous connections. And we didn’t respond to the Swine Flu pandemic in minutes.

What happens to the world’s productivity and performance when we grow into a Digital Earth where everyone and every organization can act at global scale, right away?

Abelow - GE - 11Dec2014.028

By 2025 the CHE turned the nation’s medical infrastructure into a universal digital resource, able to deliver its many capabilities digitally in real-time, everywhere.

The CHE runs individual Shared Spaces for the many medical capabilities it may need on healthcare’s strategic front line. These include the nation’s best medical capabilities as many Inactive parts.

But because any part of any Shared Space can be Activated and added immediately to any other Shared Space, the CHE has turned the nation’s medical infrastructure into a universal digital resource, able to deliver all of America’s best capabilities digitally in real-time, everywhere.

In the big picture, every person in the CHE’s Shared Spaces could have any part of America’s combined medical abilities at their fingertips. The opportunities to work together at a new level can be everywhere, a new norm for everyone’s life.

When infectious disease outbreaks can land invisibly on any international flight, when bio-terror becomes a real threat at any time and place, the CHE could become as vital as the U.S. Army, Navy and Air Force.

Abelow - GE - 11Dec2014.027

The last 35 years have seen the rise of a new wave of infectious disease outbreaks. A core research finding is that the total number and diversity of outbreaks has become significantly more frequent since 1980, with over 12,000 disease outbreaks. (111) This includes vector-borne pathogens spreading to new regions, and endemic diseases increasing in incidence. (112) Ebola is just the most vivid example of this.

Even more important, the growing threat from bio-terror attacks is described in detail by experts. Today, biotechnology advances rapidly, falls in price and spreads in accessibility. The resulting risks were summarized by Dr. Tom Inglesby of the UPMC Center for Health Security in testimony before the U.S. House of Representatives, Committee on Homeland Security – Subcommittee on Emergency Preparedness, Response, and Communications: (110)

“…the know-how and capability to create and use biological weapons exists widely in the world. This will only grow with time as the tools and techniques of biotechnology become more broadly disseminated, less expensive, and valuable to growing economies globally.” (110)

Chillingly, Dr. Inglesby added, “…we should expect not to have advanced warning regarding the development and their use (of biological weapons).” This is one of the strengths of bio-terror attacks. The perpetrators can conceal the release of the initial agent and distance themselves from it geographically.

But that causes bio-terror agents to have a fundamental weakness. Their incubation period is typically one day to two weeks between exposure to the infectious agent and the start of symptoms. (113) This provides a window of opportunity to identify, treat and contain the bio-terror weapon, but only if the defenses are able to respond immediately.

With the spread of bio-terror capabilities throughout the world, and the growing wave of infectious disease outbreaks, the window of opportunity to respond will either be immediate or too slow.

If the speed of response is too slow, that multiplies the destruction from a contagious biological agent. If the bio-terror agent is a lethal and contagious pathogen, it perpetuates itself by causing harm far beyond the small initial use of the agent — just like infectious disease outbreaks. Theoretically, a lethal and contagious bio-terror pathogen can exceed the destruction of a nuclear weapon because it can continue spreading indefinitely. (113)

Everything depends on the critical defensive capability of being able to respond instantly.

The real-time Digital Earth we’ve seen so far is just beginning. Its ability to respond immediately has many other dimensions.

Get the insights you need to take advantage of a Digital Earth by signing up for our weekly Future Letter.

Immediately receive a free copy of the book Imagine a New Future: Creating Greatness for All.