Tech VS Human Capital: Chinese and Western Approaches to COVID-19

Countries around the world have taken different measures to slow down or stop the spread of the virus. While China, South Korea, and Taiwan quickly dove into AI-powered screening and tracking, western democracies took a more human-driven direction. Almost ten months after the WHO declared the pandemic a global emergency, has one approach proven better than the other?

An empty Lovat Lane, in London. Photo courtesy of Simon Mumenthaler.

The Technology Approach

Screening, Tracking, and Tracing

Body temperature detection in Beijing. Image courtesy of Kian Zhang.

Diagnosis and Quarantine

The Human Approach

Image courtesy of Kate Trifo.

“While China has denied the impact of the virus by adopting the means of suppression, the Western democracies have denied by freely sharing the information with their citizens.” Rama Krishna Reddy Kummitha


“The technology we use today in epidemic control was hard to imagine in the past” (Jie & Quao, 2020, p. 1).

Anthropologist & User Experience Designer. I write about science and technology. Robot whisperer. VR enthusiast. Gamer. @yisela_at