The University of Twente’s campus may look deserted these days, but the staff and students aren’t sitting at home twiddling their thumbs. At their computers, they are engaging intensively with what’s going on in the wider world, not least the corona crisis.
To show just how committed its people are, the University of Twente launched a brand-new online talk show on Tuesday, 12 May. Called Campus Talks, the series featured discussions with scientists and students about the latest developments in the corona crisis. The show is hosted by Professor of Philosophy of Technology Peter-Paul Verbeek.
The opening episode of Campus Talks focused on the hot topic of the corona track & tracing apps, proposed by Health Minister Hugo de Jonge to curb the spread of the virus. It’s a development in which various University of Twente researchers have been involved from the outset. The initial optimism about these apps soon became overshadowed by all kinds of doubts and reservations, both technical and in terms of the impact on our lives. So what exactly are the technological and social obstacles? Are people likely to use such apps and if so, how?
Professor Peter-Paul Verbeek discussed this issue live in the studio with Professor Lisette van Gemert-Pijnen of the University of Twente, a specialist in how technology can help contain infectious diseases and a member of the Behavioural Sciences Task Force currently advising the Dutch government on its corona policy. Professor Maarten van Steen of the University of Twente’s Digital Society Institute examined the technological potential and limitations of such an app and reveal more about his role in the parliamentary hearings on the corona crisis. The University of Twente is currently holding talks with the public health service (GGD) to discuss what types of technology have a role to play in the corona exit strategy. The central question for this first Campus Talk will be: how can technology help us emerge from the corona crisis?