Can Technology Aid the Poor?

If technology is utilised to tackle issues related to poverty and other seemingly ‘first world’ problems, as well as emerging markets including health, agriculture, and water, a better future for everyone will be built.

How tech can alleviate poverty

There are many other ways in which technology can be utilised to help those who simply do not have access to basic necessities. The question that many ask: “Can technology truly be used to build a better future for those being left behind?” The answer is YES.

Here are some examples:

  • Technology can desalinate massive quantities of water for pennies per gallon and provide inexpensive ways for hundreds of millions of subsistence and small-scale farmers to raise enough crops for their families. This will tackle the age-old fears of a lack of water and food.
  • Having the ability to provide a cost-effective, portable, and easy-to-use diagnostic test to millions of people reduces the pressure on the healthcare system and lessens the fear of having a lack of care.

Sometimes the only solution is to use existing technology in novel ways. For example, non-profit organisation, OtheReality, founded by a sixteen-year-old high school student, uses virtual reality to help see life through the eyes of the ‘other’. This unique technology allows one to experience the lives of people on the other side of the divide, while promoting empathy and reconciliation between groups who may be at odds with one another.

OtheReality hopes that the technology will soon be a part of schools all around the globe with the mission to advocate for positive social and cultural change, while using technology to reduce prejudice and intolerance.

In addition to OtheReality, there are many other technologies that are pouring from innovators’ that can help address and even solve many of the world biggest challenges. Sadly, much of the technological innovation created today is designed to only address the needs of the more privileged community.

Tech can increase connectivity, solutions and innovation

If more of this innovation is tailored to the poor and marginalised, we will reduce a great deal of the fear that has guided history. One positive step towards this is bringing people together from different cultures, educational backgrounds, and industries. Multiple perspectives is what really helps push innovation and encourage people from all walks of life to see things in new ways.

It is important to bear in mind that across all emerging markets, there are common issues affecting different sectors. Once a solution is found in one region of the world, it can be implemented in other parts. Those who develop, support and deploy technology must be encouraged respect humanity and enable people of all classes to have the same benefits. No matter what technology is built to do, it should unite rather than separate one group from another.

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