Technology, as we know, has transformed our lives and its role in furthering socio-economic development cannot be stressed upon enough. Use of Information Technology, Digital, Artificial Intelligence, Nanotech and many other schools of scientific development have seeped into the impact delivery models of social enterprises.
“Technology and innovation are central to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). When utilised effectively, technology can be mobilised to identify barriers to and provide solutions for sustainable development challenges from the local to global level. Furthermore, the science-policy interface has become an increasingly important component of the UN system in order to guide evidence-based sustainable development policy design, implementation, follow-up and review. It has also been integral in identifying emerging needs, drawing links between the interconnected nature of thematic issues, and devising solutions to address challenges and barriers to progress.” – Report on 6th ECOSOC Youth Forum by UN at New York. Title – Role of Technology in Implementing and Monitoring the SDGs
What Are We Falling Short Of?
Equal access to technology
4 billion out of the world’s 7 billion people do not have access to the internet, and about 300 million have no access to electricity, let alone technology for that matter. While the metros and private schools talk about their digital teching, the public schools in rural pockets of India still wait for basic furniture in their classrooms.
When technology is designed by the rich and for the rich, the potential for it to deliver societal benefits for low-income populations is radically diminished, and as a consequence, inequality deepens.
Lower socioeconomic divide
India is one of the biggest IT hubs in the world housing development centres of almost all of the big names in the tech industry.
Be it in Pune, Bengaluru, Hyderabad or Noida, all IT centers are flanked by slums. The sheer socio-economic contrast is visible right before our eyes, but all the brains, all the tech and all the intelligence is being directed towards helping big corporations save money on technology and business.
Tech stalwarts, serial entrepreneurs and evangelists have a huge role to play here. We have the technology, the brains and the right ecosystem with full support from the government. The torchbearers of Digital India can harness this technology to build profitable yet developmental models which can bridge this socioeconomic divide.
2 Biggest Benefits Of Technology
Scale and Efficiency.
Here are a few examples.
Technology has bridged language, location and knowledge barriers by helping change-makers extend their innovation and impact with a multiplier effect. Classle is a for-profit venture that connects teachers and students from institutions across the world, to create a platform where most of the educational content is common, and uploaded to cloud.
The platform is designed to attract a vast majority from the tier-two and tier-three cities. It focuses on flexibility, ease and efficient learning through its content. Here, the e-learning platform helps students from anywhere in the world with consistent content and personalized teaching methods.
Similarly, Artoo, a fintech social startup, focuses on empowering all borrowers and field agents to operate in a paperless way, i.e through using the latest technology. Artoo’s model combines mobility with analytics and cloud computing, to digitize the field processes – to improve productivity, reduce risk, and improve the customer experience.
Artoo focuses more on the small and medium enterprises’ micro-financing needs, as it believes that is where the maximum potential lies. Artoo claims to have influenced 4000 users and 400 branches all over India.
Bempu, a renowned healthcare startup aims at reducing the infant mortality rate with its unique technology, The Bempu Bracelet. This bracelet is a colourful wristband which is tied on the newborn’s wrist to monitor baby’s body temperature. After a lot of field research, it was identified that one of the reasons for neonatal deaths is pneumonia. The invention has caused ripples in the area of neonatal healthcare. With its tiny steps, Bempu is making mighty developments and saving a lot of infants.
Scale and efficiency are two of the biggest benefits of technology. We need tech innovators, investors and evangelists to start employing technology towards sustainable development.