Abstract Covid hit the world with unforseen ferocity and speed, rendering all responses, drugs and existing knowledge around disease containment invalid. The world was showing signs of mass panic. As India hurtled into lockdown, the two most urgent needs were to provide clarity, first response to those in need and to see the disease spread at a local, regional level at scale. An experimental digital effort began amalgamating several innovators amid this chaos, went from idea to launch in a week evolved into what we now know as Aarogya Setu. Aarogya Setu is remarkable as digital infrastructure, India's scientific temperament, its commitment to inclusion and at the same time a stark reminder of human failing and archaic policy infrastructure. With Aarogya Setu, India was able to see Covid. But, the saddest, undeniable part is this infrastructure was abandoned when the country needed it most. But many say it did a lot of good, academics abroad say the scale and quality of Aarogya Setu is unprecedented in the free world. And its final contribution was to evolve into a trusted, high fidelity global standard vaccine response. This talk will take a walk down this memory lane we wish never happens, but its clear we must prepare for.
The Speaker Dr. Lalitesh Katragadda is a pioneer in crowdsourcing. His creation, Google Map Maker, quadrupled the world's digital maps corpus, bringing maps to 4 billion in 187 countries that had no maps before. His startup was Google’s first acquisition in 2002 after which he co-founded Google India, acting as Country Head, Google India Products until 2014. He now builds population scale platforms for India's Billion including Avanti for financial inclusion and Indihood, crowdsourcing for communities and core development challenges. He architected the Fiber Grid for the state of Andhra, the worlds largest greenfield optical network in 2014, authored India’s national Open API policy, is an advisor to MEITY and core contributor to Digital India and India Stack. Lalitesh has spoken at TED and The White House. Lalitesh received his Ph.D. and MS from CMU in Robotics and Computer Science, where he led the CMU Lunar Rover Initiative. He holds an MS, Design Division, Stanford, MS, Aerospace, Iowa State and B-Tech, IIT-Bombay.