At the initiative of some enterprising Estonians, the international technology community will be attending a hackathon, The Global Hack, from 9-12 April, with over one million expected participants. The goal of the four-day technology marathon is to create solutions that help people stop the spread of coronavirus and stimulate the economy.
In mid-March, immediately after an emergency situation was declared in Estonia, the public and private sector organised a two-day online hackathon to help deal with the crisis. Several technological solutions were created as a result of the hackathon. For example, the map at https://koroonakaart.ee that displays the current data about the spread of the virus; the chatbot SUVE at https://eebot.ee/ that provides reliable information about the crisis; the health questionnaire at https://coronatest.ee that helps to assess the risk of infection; and the platform https://vaab.ee that connects volunteers with a medical background.
Seeing how quickly it is possible to find real solutions for dealing with the crisis, President Kersti Kaljulaid invited other countries to organise hackathons, as well. The Hack the Crisis movement began in Estonia and has now reached over 40 countries, with more than 100 000 participants. The hackathon closely involves Estonian embassies and honorary consuls around the world who are using their networks to invite other countries and developers to join.
According to President Toomas Hendrik Ilves, spokesperson for the global hackathon that connects the international technology community, the hackathon planned for April will be the largest ever organised.
"The crisis is far from over and the fight is real, but the future is now. We can battle the problems of the immediate crisis with solutions that also increase our longer-term resilience, Ilves stated.
"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," he added.
"Online, with no borders, tech activists are building solutions in an epic rapid prototyping hackathon. It will be the biggest hackathon held, uniting humanity with purpose online at a time we are being separated physically. This is a unique time when 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 sustained social and economic benefits," the former President of Estonia encouraged everyone to contribute if they can.
By now, the initiative that started in Estonia also includes, for example, 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, the Netherlands, Afghanistan, Kosovo, Denmark, Australia, Cyprus, Albania, Madagascar, Benin and Georgia. More countries are being added to the list.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs