W.Hen A pandemic spreads, a 23-year-old French data scientist was working in his room with his parents in the Savoy Valley. Guillaume Rozier started plotting and tweeting about cases of covid-19 infection in Italy against those in France. His scans have quickly become a popular coronavirus monitoring site. In April, he produced “ViteMaDose” (QuickMyJab), a two-click website that scans many French health websites for low vaccination periods. Now you get 2-3 million views every day.
France fanatics employ powerful bureaucrats. Armed with simplicity, clarity, and algorithms, they conquer management’s passion for complexity, confusion, and rules. Other new sites, like Covidliste or Covid Anti Gaspi, match unused vaccine doses in refrigerators with those you take nearby. How did one of the amazing talk show hosts Mr. Rozier ask, “Were you able to create this system that the French administration doesn’t have?”
Rozier, whose non-profit site is based, says he saw the need when he struggled to secure a date for his relative in March. The French health system is fragmented, with no central reservations; Vaccine delivery is irregular. Collaborate with crowdsourcing to improve algorithm and design. “A lot of people call us to thank us for helping us find appointments,” he says. “It is really cool.”
The five million French bureaucrats are masters of the art of detour. When the government launched a new bloc last March, it devised a two-page vacation model, with 15 different justifications, before setting it aside in the face of ridicule. The current rules combine subtlety and farce. The French can buy alcohol, for example, but not underwear.
President Emmanuel Macron is trying to reform the administration. Abolished the Elite National School of Administration. Cedric O, his digital minister, is testing the first digital health certificate from the European Union, to go to Corsica. But bureaucrats are generally better at setting rules and gathering information than at making them comprehensible. I go to them The geek.
This article appeared in the Europe section of the print edition entitled “Geeks versus Bureaucrats.”
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