How Tech is Making the World a Better Place
We are living in an age of technological upheaval which has come with enormous benefits and a few drawbacks. Phone addiction, robots replacing jobs, personal data hacks are just a few negative side effects but anyone with a smartphone and a broadband connection now has access to more information and media than the wealthiest person alive 30 years ago.
Meanwhile, a mission to Mars now seems like a real possibility, as do electric cars and a dispersed solar power grid – and that’s just what Elon Musk is working on. Looking further afield, here are some of the ways that technology is improving the world.
Robot surgeons can assist human physicians in performing operations, preventing failures and minimising the impact on the patient – hence reducing recovery times.
Virtual nursing has patients using IoT technology to relay data on their health to medical staff, without having to set foot in hospital. This is more convenient for all involved but it also means that the patient’s vitals can be reviewed far more frequently, providing a far fuller picture on their actual condition.
Diagnosis is also being enhanced by technology, both on the micro and the macro scale. For example, Congenica has created a platform to analyse genomic information, helping practitioners to treat patients with genetic diseases. Meanwhile, the increased quantity of available medical data will make it far easier for practitioners to understand wellbeing on a society-wide level and to identify factors that correlate with disease and ill health.
Blockchain has multiple potential applications, for example, allowing patients to quickly, easily and securely share a complete medical record with their doctor; and also securing the supply chain, making a permanent record of the constituent ingredients in an item, flagging counterfeit products and automatically voiding improperly stored units (via IoT integration).
Poverty: The accessibility of online markets and digital services has lowered barriers to creating a business, hence empowering many. Nevertheless, inequality remains a global problem. At the almost-literal grassroots level, Digital Green helps smallholder farmers to work together and to share their knowledge to improve their lives. More broadly, MOOCs and other online information sources provide much of the benefit, and training, that students would get from studying at the best universities in the world – if not a degree.
Politics: In the modern era, social media has fuelled an age of protest, targeting corruption and wrongdoing. Equally, services like TheyWorkForYou provide transparency into the political process and on precisely what our elected representatives are doing. Meanwhile, UReport provides a global platform, allowing individuals to speak up on issues that are important to them and their communities.
Sexual harassment: Digital platforms have been host to new conversations about sexual inequality and abuse – after all, MeToo and TimesUp couldn’t have happened without social media. HarassMap goes a step further by allowing individuals to tag cases of sexual harassment on a map.
Connect and donate: Modern communications make it far faster and easier to contact individuals amidst a disaster, to assess the situation and to coordinate disaster relief. Facebook has been particularly notable in this field, with its Safety Check feature, allowing individuals to confirm their safety with a click for their entire network; and with features that make it easy to donate via crisis pages – with funds distributed by GlobalGiving.
Resilient communications: Meanwhile, organisations like Bridgefy are working to provide mesh networks that allow devices to stay in communication without internet access, helping populations and governments to cope with damaged infrastructure.
Plastics into oil: One of the greatest environmental challenges we face is the fact that plastic cannot be turned back into oil. This may soon all be over, thanks to Adrian Griffiths of Recycling Technologies. He has developed a process to turn plastic waste into Plaxx – a substance that can be used as fuel or turned back into plastic.
Ocean clean-up: We’re increasingly aware of the vast amount of waste in our oceans and the terrible effect that it has on aquatic life. Something that may combat this is Seabin, an invention that works much like a fish tank’s water filtration system and sucks in oil and rubbish. It’s a big task, but if widely deployed, Seabin could soon begin to make a difference.
Pollinating drone: Bees have been dying off in vast numbers and as these insects are crucial for plants to be pollinated, the issue has the potential to have an enormous knock-on impact. One fanciful solution, recalling Black Mirror, has seen some wondering whether micro-drones might be able to fulfil a similar function, artificially pollinating plants – and thereby securing the food supply.
Flood sensors: With the prospect of an increasingly unpredictable climate and rising tides, technology – including enhanced weather forecasting and monitoring by IoT sensors – can help to alert the public to danger. Flood Network, for example, works to predict and track flood conditions in the UK, helping individuals and responders to deal with crisis situations as they happen.
Using technology for good
While technology has also brought us challenges such as social media which has opened up the world to greater communication but at the same time driving many of us into our own filter bubbles, there is little doubt that technology will continue to make our lives simpler and easier and can be used to make a positive change to our lives.
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Empiric is a multi-award winning business and one of the fastest growing technology and transformation recruitment agency's specialising in data, digital, cloud and security. We supply technology and change recruitment services to businesses looking for both contract and permanent professionals.
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