This article is part of a VB special issue. Read the full series: AI and Surveillance.

With unprecedented and historic impact, the pandemic has changed everything. It forced the entire world to slow to a near halt as health professionals and world leaders scrambled to contain and track the spread of the coronavirus, while citizens fled into their homes to shelter in place and quarantine. Technology has played a central role in much of it, and as we all look to flatten the curve while we reboot society, get back to work, and create treatments for COVID-19, it will continue to do so.

In our upcoming special issue, titled “AI and surveillance in the age of coronavirus,” we focus on one of the most immediate needs: finding the balance between safety and freedom.

We ponder this tension through the lens of the technologies that are involved in contact tracing and quarantine tracking and enforcement. We discuss the methods and technologies involved — like smartphone surveillance, thermal scanning, drones, big data, and facial recognition — and how and where they’re being used around the world. And we unpack the battle in Congress over data privacy law and how to avoid the rise of permanent new surveillance measures. We dig deep into the situation unfolding in France, where all these issues are coalescing.

For VentureBeat, the coronavirus has changed our editorial focus. We had several special issue topics lined up — and then the pandemic descended, and none of those topics felt salient or timely anymore. And so we scrapped weeks of careful planning virtually overnight and began anew, pivoting our focus to the emerging topics created by the effects of the coronavirus.


AI Unleashed

An exclusive invite-only evening of insights and networking, designed for senior enterprise executives overseeing data stacks and strategies.


Learn More

Now we’re focusing on subjects like data privacy, tracking, and how AI and big data come into play; how we’re getting back to work; the role automation will play in the immediate future of the workforce; and the ways AI and other transformative technologies are affecting both frontline health care and the search for COVID-19 cures.

We also had to rethink our approach to creating our special issues. These are huge topics, and they deserve thoughtful, careful, and in-depth attention. But they’re also rapidly emerging and developing, and so we’re moving faster and creating leaner special issues. And because these stories don’t end once we hit the publish button, we’ll continue reporting on the related stories that emerge. Our special issues are becoming more like living, breathing documents.

“AI and surveillance in the age of coronavirus” is the first special issue to emerge from our revamped focus and approach. You can get it delivered straight to your inbox next week by signing up here.

Read More: VentureBeat's Special Issue on AI and Surveillance