Rebuild A Podcast by Tatsuhiko Miyagawa. Talking about Tech, Software Development and Gadgets.

Jun 10

271: Monads Are Not Required for My Job (Audrey Tang)

収録時間: 1:23:27 | Download MP3 (40.5MB)

Audrey Tang joins me to talk about COVID-19, her career path, digital minister's job, forking the government, Sci-Fi and so on.

Transcript of this episode is available at

[0:00:00] today we have a very special guest joining in from Taiwan. She is the digital minister of Taiwan and a longtime friend of mine, Audrey Tang. Audrey, Welcome to the show. Welcome and it's really nice chatting with you I think the last time we chat, you were still working on Docker. Yeah. That's true I think I went to Taiwan, Taipei around 2014 and 16, that was the last time. That's right. I think I met you at the osdc conference. yeah but it's been awhile.

[0:00:34] How are you these days? pretty good. looks like you're pretty busy. Yeah, keeping busy. I have early morning calls with people in the Americas and of course Canada and so on. During a day I talk to the Asian people and during the evening to Europe and Africa. So average seven meetings through video conference per day. So many video meetings every day. That's right. It is a new normal. That's true.

[0:01:05] Honestly I've talked about this pandemic and coronavirus situations a lot in the past episodes of this podcast, for the last few months. So there's not a lot that I want to talk about but I guess it's important to talk about it, especially because I think Taiwan has been handling this very well. Well, we're now officially post pandemic, just for the record. We're over the pandemic now. It's been eight weeks with no locally transmitted cases, and we've lifted all restrictions on public gatherings.

[0:01:46] I see. I saw that this morning New Zealand did the same thing. No cases for the past five weeks or something.

[0:01:55] that's right, that's right. Maybe in a couple more Thursday will join in a bubble or something. You're still kind of closing the border, only accepting the Taiwan Nationals coming back. Right and also on a case-by-case basis of business visits, but that's what I meant by a bubble if we're ready to join the bubble then people in that bubble could travel safely between different jurisdictions.

[0:02:28] yeah that's great to hear. It's very different where I live in right now. I know. I've been in a shelter in place for the past 3 months, it's not a hard lockdown so I can get out and walk and go to grocery shopping if I want to. OK, so you're still exercising outdoors. Honestly I don't. OK. I only exercise sometimes indoors, using some video games and I have a small patio

[0:03:05] so I can go out there and you know, drink coffee, eat lunches and stuff, but most of the time if I don't have to, I don't go out. OK I just read yesterday on Hacker News this idea that mental wealth, right, like investing in mental health is very important. So I'm glad to hear that you were at least kind of still making some investments on the mental health part. Yeah.

[0:03:36] Let's talk a little about the coronavirus stuff, because I think it's fascinating the approach that you took, especially like the e-mask system. Can you talk a little bit about it. Sure, that's part of our fast, fear, fun strategy. The fast means that we ramp up the production of our mask from 2 million medical mask a day to 20 million medical mask a day very quickly over a couple months and once we produce that many, we want to ensure that everybody have access to this mask. so in the very beginning we ask the pharmacies, I think there is 6 thousands of them to help distributing them on a real name basis, meaning that people who use during national health insurance card, which is an IC card can go to the pharmacies initially people can get two per week, and quickly became 3 per week and after awhile become 9 per 2 weeks

[0:04:36] or 10 if you are a child. But the trick of pharmacies distributing masks is that we want to avoid long queues because long queues is by itself a transmission vector, right. So the civil society, civic technologists built a map that visualizes all the real-time stock levels and that's not our idea it's just people in g0v community came up with those ideas even when, like we are still not doing the real name rationing, they're already built a mask. My contribution is that just that when I see the initial prototype getting taken down because the creator Howard Wu owed Google, because he uses that place API which doesn't allow for cashing. Actually he could cache the place ID but he didn't know that trick, so he owed Google like 20K US dollars, so he had to take that down. And I showed his

[0:05:36] work to our prime minister, to our premier Su Tseng-Chang. And premier Su said "Ah let's just support the civic technologists" and so, we nationalized not only the mask production but also the open data production, so that the stock level of medical mask in pharmacies to publish every 30 seconds in which case it become not open data but really like open API, that enabled apps to be built so we have two mask maps, one chat bot, on the very first day of launch, and now it's over 140 applications.