The Pandemic Issue

We believe collaboration is an essential ingredient for prog- ress in all areas. Early in this pandemic, Schmidt Futures held a virtual gathering of 160 people across 70 organizations in philanthropy, government, and business interested in accel- erating research and response to the virus, and thought at the time, it’s pretty amazing this kind of thing doesn’t go all the time. We are obviously going to go farther together than on our own...My husband, Eric, has observed that in the past two months, we’ve all catapulted 10 years forward in our use of technology, so there are trends already underway that are likely accelerated and will become part of the fabric of the post-COVID world—like working remotely; online learning; increased online shopping, even for groceries; telemedicine; increasing use of AI to create smarter delivery systems for healthcare and many other applications in a world that has grown more virtual overnight. We fully expect these trends to continue and expand across the sciences, sped up by the pressures of the health crisis. Schmidt Ocean Institute and Schmidt Futures have been pressing in these directions for years, so we are pleased to see the expansions that should help more scientists work productively, together. Trying to find the good amid a horrible crisis, are there any other new horizons in science, philanthropy, and/or your own work that could transform our world for the better that you’d like to share? Our deepest hope is that out of these alarming and uncer- tain times will come a renewed appreciation for the tools of science, as they help humans to navigate a world of intercon- nected living systems, of which viruses are a large part. The more we investigate the Ocean, the more we look deeply into what lies in our soils and beneath them, the more we realize we do not know, and moreover, how vulnerable humanity is to the forces of the natural world. Philanthropy has an important role to play in influencing how people perceive our place in the world and understand the impact of human activity on the rest of the planet. I believe it’s philanthropy’s role to take risks, to invest early in inno- vative technologies, to lead where governments and industry aren’t ready to go yet. We’re fortunate at this time to be able




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