Audrey Tang

Hacking the Pandemic: Taiwan’s Approach

When historians write the chapter on the COVID-19 pandemic, they will have plenty of cautionary examples, except maybe Taiwan.  Taiwan may well provide the lesson in not only battling a public health crisis but also in civic engagement, innovation and digital democracy. Informed by lessons from a 2003 SARS epidemic, Taiwan employed rigorous contact tracing, and technology to communicate and solicit innovative ideas. Moreover, Taiwan employed technology in striking ways, from providing transparency on public health info to crowdsourcing innovative ideas on engaging civil society to hold government accountable. The credit for Taiwan’s approach goes to the Taiwan’s Minister in charge of Social Innovation – Audrey Tang.  The youngest minister in Taiwan’s history and a child prodigy who is largely self-taught, Audrey is credited demonstrating the potential power of harnessing technology to combat the pandemic AND to safeguard democracy.

Our guest is Audrey Tang, the youngest and the first ever transgender minister in Taiwan’s history, known as one of the world’s top open-source software developers. Audrey is also a computational linguist credited for their work with Apple (Siri) as well as with Oxford University Press on crowd lexicography. In 2019 Audrey was named in “100 Global Thinkers” list published by Foreign Policy magazine.  Audrey is acknowledged globally for innovation and leadership in steering Taiwan’s response to the COVID-19 crisis and for successful integration of civil society, technological innovation and democratic governance. 

Guest: Audrey Tang

Hosted by: Alexa Raad & Leslie Daigle

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