Understand New Technology: How can our whole Digital Earth be Ground Zero?

In 2025 an appropriate, immediately responsive medical emergency task force is delivered by Focusing the CHE’s “First Responders Shared Space” and Activating the continuous connections needed to handle that situation.


Like many infectious diseases, Ebola doesn’t show symptoms immediately so it can surface anywhere. Because healthy people incubate Ebola for up to 21 days before they appear ill, they can travel around the world while looking and testing normal. The same is true for other infectious diseases like malaria (31) and cholera (32), which people can carry to new places before they become ill. Infectious diseases are endemic in various cities, slums and rural areas worldwide. As people live and work together, many jobs and services cross class lines and neighborhoods, including airports and planes that fly people everywhere.

Instead of training everyone to deal with rare infectious diseases like Ebola, provide a dispersed team of medical First Responders who can be digitally anywhere, any time they’re needed.

Today’s CDC attempts to prepare the entire nation’s medical system to deal with infectious diseases like Ebola. Everyone must be trained to recognize Ebola and each other disease, then know how to use the current CDC protocol to treat it. The scarce resources of hospitals, community health centers, doctor’s offices, and health workers — in a wide range of work, transportation, home or public locations — are spent getting everyone ready to become “ground zero” if Ebola or another epidemic arrives.

We simply don’t have the resources and time to do this for all 215 human infectious diseases that have produced over 12,000 outbreaks in the last 33 years alone. (7)

On a Digital Earth, pre-deployed Shared Spaces let the CHE respond to threats, guide crucial skills and use best practices everywhere, immediately.

Set ahead in 2025, “Ground Zero is Everywhere” illustrates a continuously connected Digital Earth whose fictional CHE provides immediately accessible presence, and a real-time digital medical firewall against potential medical crises.

A persistent network of Shared Spaces lets the CHE provide this by using a new Digital Medical Infrastructure. Its “First Responders” Shared Space provides access to multiple specialists, with substitution rules when a specific expert is not available. Related Shared Spaces, like Infection Control, provide deeper capabilities in narrow domains that are required by many other Shared Spaces.

In this Digital Earth pre-deployed Shared Spaces let the CHE respond to threats like Ebola with leading medical specialists, guide crucial skills like putting on PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) correctly or sanitizing the medical facility, and immediately use best practices like the Active Knowledge Ebola protocol. A Shared Space includes “always on” people, systems, services, locations and resources appropriate for a situation or process — but they are Inactive until needed. At the moment each part is needed, that continuous connections is instantly Activated.

As each person uses and switches devices, a Presence System recognizes and follows them. The experience of Shared Spaces is continuous and uninterrupted. Each person controls their presence. They can limit or expand their availability in each Shared Space. When an organization like the CHE controls presence, stored rules let them determine how presence works, and how substitution works when there is an immediate need and someone is not available.

People and digital elements can be added from one Shared Space to another. For a narrow example the fictional Dr. Chester, is both an Ebola “First Responder” and a leading specialist in the Ebola Shared Space (see Example 6). Conversely, a single person can be associated immediately with multiple Shared Spaces, like the fictional Li Min whose work in the Infection Control Shared Space associates her with many medical Shared Spaces.

The start of a “build once, run everywhere” Digital Medical Infrastructure will begin the switch from building large numbers of expensive physical facilities everywhere, to universally available medical services that can be delivered from anywhere.

The screens in Shared Spaces are dynamically constructed using real-time computer graphics blending. Like CGI in the movies, any combination of people, data, images, systems, locations and resources could be blended on the screen. This overcomes the incompatibilities between different data sources because one or more participants can see the constructed view. Any of them could change it, too. The result is multiple customizable online environments that reflect what users and organizations want displayed, rather than the limited view from the physical world.

For the technology industry, a pervasive digital environment turns today’s competitive devices into commodity gateways. The actual device and brand are eclipsed whether one uses a smart phone, tablet, PC/Laptop, wearable, connected television or another kind of connected device. Once a powerful and attractive Digital Earth is built, the world of unique, expensive devices will diminish.

Today’s medical infrastructure is similarly impacted. The advent of a build once, run everywhere medical infrastructure will transform high-cost medical services that are based on building and supporting expensive medical facilities, skills and capabilities everywhere throughout societies.

Each succeeding example will make that clearer. Together these will illustrate how a Digital Earth could deliver high quality medical care that includes universal availability, immediate responses, rapid advances and lower costs.