Published on 29 Jun 2021

With crisis comes opportunity

While COVID-19 may have caused global distress, Mr Kris Gopalakrishnan, Co-founder of Infosys and Nanyang Professor of Practice believes that many lessons can be learnt from its vast societal and industrial impacts.

“The next thirty years will be better than the last,” said a confident Mr Kris Gopalakrishnan as he reflected on the last three decades and pondered the possibilities of the future. His insights on what the COVID-19 pandemic has taught us came in the inaugural Distinguished Speaker Series talk organised by the Global Alliance of Industries @ NTU (GAIN) on 4 May.

During the session moderated by NTU President Professor Subra Suresh, Mr Gopalakrishnan used his native country India as a lens to examine how the pandemic has affected different societal groups and industries.

GAIN Distinguished Speaker Series 
During the session moderated by NTU President Prof Subra Suresh (left), Mr Gopalakrishnan (right) used his native country India as a lens to examine how the pandemic has affected different societal groups and industries.

The rise of tech and IT services

Mr Gopalakrishnan said that a key lesson from the pandemic crisis is how technology and IT services are now even more important than before. IT and communication tools were proven to be invaluable in connecting people and allowing everyone to continue working and living as normally as possible through unprecedented circumstances.

Through the increased adoption of new technologies during the pandemic, Mr Gopalakrishnan said that it has become more obvious that the Fourth Industrial Revolution will be led by tech and IT companies. Citing the example of Zoom, he highlighted how the video teleconferencing software has become a staple tool used across the globe for both business and personal purposes. He touched on the increasingly common use of telemedicine, which has proven to be crucial at a time when seeking medical treatment in-person might not be preferred by many.

Mr Gopalakrishnan’s presentation also addressed how industries such as healthcare and education evolved quickly during the pandemic, digitalising their operations, especially in education, where there has been a seamless and successful transition to online teaching.

“The best of times are ahead of us”

Mr Gopalakrishnan ended his presentation on an optimistic note. As we enter a post-COVID-19 world, the lessons learnt from the pandemic will not only allow us to be better equipped for similar situations but also help to build a better future.

The increased pace of innovation, the emergence of new and multiple ‘exponential technologies’, and increases in research investment were just some of the factors informing Mr Gopalakrishnan’s view and that he believes will help different economies flourish as we move into the next phase.

In 2018, Mr Gopalakrishnan donated S$2 million to establish the Gopalakrishnan-NTU Presidential Postdoctoral Fellowship to attract promising early-career scientists and engineers to NTU, and fund cutting edge research collaborations between students at NTU and renowned Indian institutes.

Watch the session here: