Can Technology End Poverty? - Susan Davis by Susan Davis | 10:00 AM March 22, 2013 If you believe the hype, technology is going to help us end global poverty. Advances have indeed made a huge difference in the lives of the poor, but there’s also a healthy amount of skepticism out there. Berkeley researcher Kentaro Toyama has a blog dedicated to calling out naïve or inappropriate uses of information and communication technologies (ICT). Calling himself the ICT4D jester (using the development jargon for “information and communication technologies for development”), he has no shortage of material. We’ve all heard stories of computers that sit unused in African classrooms; on a recent post, the jester takes aim at texting cows. The organization I’m part of, BRAC, is known for going to scale with solutions that are often radically low-tech. But I’m hardly a naysayer when it comes to tech. The trick is making sure everyone shares in the coming abundance — or at least has a fair shot at doing so. Invest in local innovation.
Peter Diamandis: Abundance -- The Future Is Better Than You Think I was in a coffee shop recently and overheard a young couple discussing whether or not it was morally responsible to bring a child into today's world given all of the global challenges we face. What's curious about their question and the dark contemporary mood it represents is that in a very measurable way, the world is better off than its ever been. I'll start with poverty, which has declined more the in the past 50 years than the previous 500. We're not just richer than ever before, we're healthier as well. As Steven Pinker has lately made clear, since the middle ages, violence on Earth has been in constant decline. If your measure of prosperity is tilted towards the availability of goods and services, consider that even the poorest American's today (those below the poverty line) have access to phones, toilets, running water, air conditioning and even a car. So this brings us back to the question of our contemporary mood. Turns out there are about a dozen reasons.
6 Ways Mobile Technology Has Transformed the World's Poor | Clara Tsao Mobile technology is rapidly changing the face of communication in the most remote areas of the world. Today, out of the seven billion people in the world, approximately six billion are cell phone subscribers. In response, companies, governments, and NGOS alike have realized the potential of this tool in addressing today's most pressing global challenges. Last week I attended the Mobiles Conference with 150 thought leaders and decision makers to discuss the present use of mobile technologies to increase development impact. Here are some key areas where mobile technology has had the greatest success. 1. In education, mobile technology has helped provide schools, teachers, and parents access to meaningful data and tips to help students succeed. 2. Grants for projects in international development are heavily data driven. Advancements in surveying have also allowed Uganda to develop childbirths and death registry tools. 3. 4) Banking the Unbanked 5) Data Analysis 6) mHealth
How Homeless People Use Technology Homeless Teens Say Cell Phones as Important as Food Homeless teens value smartphones as much as eating or a drug habit, underscoring the importance of the devices for day-to-day survival. The USC School of Social Work’s study revealed that 62 percent of homeless teens have cell phones and place a premium on paying the monthly subscription to a data plan to stay in touch with friends, parents, and current or potential employers. Because homeless teens can often get food and other basics free from shelters, a cell phone is one of the first resources homeless youth worry about when they try to sort out their declining situation, according to the study. “Cell phones have changed what it means to be a homeless teen as these youth can look for help beyond the streets,” said Eric Rice, lead author on the study. “If you don’t have to steal to get a meal, the chances of you going to jail decrease.” “It is a relatively easy structural way to get them off the streets,” Rice said. “Teens are very resourceful.
A Homeless Man With a BlackBerry Shows Us What Determination Looks Like. | 2machines Just becomes he doesn't have a home mean he doesn't deserve a life. I could tell he was different the moment he walked in the coffee shop. It wasn’t his appearance. It was how he moved: warily, shoulders hunched over and eyes darting. He ordered a coffee, carefully counting out coins on the counter. Did someone have some cash jobs for him? Bert isn’t unsheltered. He made it clear: he hadn’t given up. It wasn’t easy to engage him in conversation. He made a joke about people acting as if poverty was an infectious disease. His phone, then, functions as an important conduit. E-mail and text is especially important. Ironically, all this is easier to manage over text and e-mail than the phone. Despite nearly everyone owning a cell phone, we think of them as luxuries, especially as data plans approach $100 a month. Even the most progressive areas of the country can show a certain callousness to what poverty should look and feel like. Yes — phones. I Want More Stuff Like This! Published In:
Digital Divide: Canada's Poorest Sacrifice Basic Needs To Get Connected Yuji Toyozato clutches his ringing phone and panics. He has no idea how to answer it. How could he be so stupid? No. Why is something so simple for everyone else so hard for me? Stupid, stupid. Yuji hands me the Samsung Galaxy S3. Why did Samsung screw up so badly? Stupid, stupid company. The phone stops ringing. He first touched a computer at 56, almost 40 years after moving to Canada. I first touched a computer when I was around 11. His Japanese accent is cotton balls-in-his-cheeks thick, masking his sophisticated vocabulary. For most of his life, Yuji’s excessive curiosity and erratic personality have left him on the fringes. Canada has a digital divide, a demographic that isn’t fully connected to the online world. The digital economy has created a new underclass made up of groups that already face many obstacles. Story continues below slideshow Loading Slideshow The cost of a computer, cell phone and monthly fees are a major barrier. I suggest we Google how to pick up a call. At 7:30 a.m.