Estonian coronavirus hackathon transforms into global movement
The Hack the Crisis movement began in Estonia and has since reached over 40 countries and more than 100,000 participants. At the initiative of some enterprising Estonians, the IT community is expecting over one million people to participate in the Global Hack from April 9-12, a hackathon dedicated to creating solutions to help people stop the spread of the coronavirus and stimulate the economy.
In mid-March, immediately after an emergency situation was declared in Estonia, the public and private sector organized a two-day online hackathon to help address the crisis, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a press release.
Several technological solutions were developed as a result, such as the map at https://koroonakaart.ee that displays current data about the spread of the virus; the chatbot SUVE (https://eebot.ee/), a source of reliable information about the crisis; the health questionnaire at https://coronatest.ee, which helps assess one's risk of infection, and the platform https://vaab.ee, which helps connect volunteers with a medical background.
President Kersti Kaljulaid thereafter invited other countries to organize their own hackathons as well. The Hack the Crisis movement began in Estonia and has since reached over 40 countries and more than 100,000 participants.
According to former President Toomas Hendrik Ilves, spokesperson for the Global Hack, the hackathon planned for April will be the largest ever organized.
"The crisis is far from over and the fight is real, but the future is now," Ilves said. "We can battle the problems of the immediate crisis with solutions that also increase our longer-term resilience. We should consider how we support our changing relationships, a new economy, poor healthcare, and strengthening the arts. We must also develop effective solutions to respond to future pandemics and other crises so we never have to hide again."
Online, with no borders, tech activists are building solutions in an epic rapid prototyping hackathon, he highlighted. "It will be the biggest hackathon ever held, uniting humanity with purpose online at a time we are separated physically," he continued. "This is a unique time in which the whole world is fighting the same problem together. If we move fast, the Global Hack can relieve a lot of immediate pain people are suffering as well as provide sustained social and economic benefits."
Other countries to have joined the initiative include Italy, Latvia, Poland, Ukraine, Lithuania, Finland, Moldova, Germany, Belarus, India, the United Kingdom, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Hungary, Canada, France, Bulgaria, Switzerland, Sweden, Portugal, Turkey, Norway, Holland, Afghanistan, Kosovo, Denmark, Australia, Cyprus, Albania, Madagascar, Benin and Georgia.
Click here to read more about the Global Hack online.
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Editor: Aili Vahtla