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Has tech influenced social problems?

Has tech influenced social problems?

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Yuri
·Sep 1, 2022·

6 min read

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Table of contents

  • Climate change

Digital technologies can influence directly on economic growth and in the deepest parts of our society, they are not just tools . They are designed for social interaction, and that binds them to have a special obligation to society.

With the big catalyst for change that was the pandemic, we have noticed how much technology can impact our society, whether that is for education, keeping in touch with our loved ones, booking appointments or working remotely. Even as this crisis passes, technology has shown that its influence will continue to grow exponentially.

So, this makes us raise the question, how is tech positively influencing social and global problems?

Climate change

Energy technology, renewable clean energy and better energy storage is fundamental to de-escalate the damage done by global warming. It's easier said than done given that more than the 80% of the energy consumption comes from fossil fuels. The process of developing affordable and effective wind and solar energy alternatives is in the works, but it needs to be available everywhere.

People like Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg and Richard Branson are among the people behind the Breakthrough Energy Coalition, whose goal is to stop adding greenhouse gasses by 2050 bringing together governments, companies, investors and individuals to hit their goal of net-zero emissions by 2050.


What are smart cities doing around the world?

  • Amsterdam: Has started offering solar panels and storage units for houses connected to the city's smart grid with the option of selling their spare energy back to the grid.
  • Barcelona: The tech hub of Spain has sensors installed that monitor the city's rain, humidity, noise and air quality. They also have a smart irrigation system used to prevent and treat droughts and water conservation.
  • London: Smart traffic lights that respond in favor of public transportation and deploying smart streetlights that reduce operational costs.
  • Seoul: Has incorporated electric vehicle technology which allows buses to be charged as they travel along the road's surface.
  • Singapore: Has installed road sensors, smart traffic lights, and smart parking management tactics. They have also connected sensors to apps that help measure and improve the use of water and electricity.
  • Songdo: The city has electric-vehicle infrastructure, emergency-service drones, and environmentally friendly disposal systems.

This is a complicated topic without a one fits all solution but advances are being made around the world. One thing we all seem to agree on is that the best time to start is now. There is a big message of optimism.

"The work needs to start immediately," "The history of energy transitions is clear: It takes years to develop new sources of energy, and decades to make them a significant part of our energy mix." - Bill Gates.

Education

We have seen an important shift in education equality since the beginning of the Internet Of Things. Technology acts as a tool for smart classrooms opening new opportunities to teachers and students.

The development of technologies like cloud, video conferencing, and wireless technology has been groundbreaking for those in remote areas that can now access classes, videos, topics and more they wouldn't be able to.

You can also self-teach through free online courses on sites like FreeCodeCamp, Udemy, Coursera, YouTube, and many others if you don't have the economic means to enroll in school or university or even if you are just looking to change careers, especially into tech. You can also find pdf versions of books and audiobooks.

You can now learn whenever and wherever you want to, at your own pace with higher knowledge retention.

Disaster Relief

Technology is providing a more effective way to cope with the aftermath of a disaster, from the way survivors can communicate with the emergency services helping them gain precious time or even with drones used to drop-off aid packages that are hard to access by land, air or sea, they have also been used to locate survivors and transmit information to emergency teams just along with robots.

What has also been developed?

  • The Serval Project made in response to the Haiti January 12, 2010 earthquake, this allows mobile phones to communicate to each other when there's no network coverage.
  • The TERA - Trilogy Emergency Relief Application- is a SMS text system designed to be a two way communication between aid, emergency teams and people affected.
  • The NASA Finder made in response to the Nepal April 25, 2015 earthquake, it's a suitcase that can detect human heartbeats under 20ft of solid concrete and 30ft of rubble. It can also distinguish between the heartbeats of a human and those of animals or mechanical devices.
  • The ALIRT (Airborne Ladar Imaging Research Testbed) is an MIT product that produces images of wide areas quickly scanning 2000 km2 per hour generating 3D imaging collecting high-resolution maps of wide-area terrain from altitudes up to 9000m and decimeter accuracy from altitudes of 3000m. This can help dispatch resources to specific areas, identify possible landing zones and road travel possibilities.

We also have things like Facebook safety check when an incident such as an earthquake, hurricane, mass shooting or building collapse occurs where people might be in danger, global crisis reporting agencies alert Facebook and Safety Check will be activated so that users can say alert their friends and family and let them know they're safe.

Conclusion

Technological change often brings innovation and improvements. The adoption of new technologies has brought great incensement and competition in the industry. The cost of information has gone down ever since it's quickly and easy to obtain it now, making it more accessible for most people. Helping communities be more economically and culturally diverse while also helping create a better quality of life.

However, these changes have also brought some concerns, most notably the potential infringement of privacy and the loss of human interaction and social relationships. Although the negative impact is not something that can be erased, we can improve the current technologies and policies and learn from regulations that are already in place like the General Data Protection Regulation from the EU. While those concerns usually come up when talking about the social impact of technology, we have seen that the lesser known positive impact is upon us.

Technological change has also opened international markets, international competitiveness and opened up previously inaccessible careers or employment opportunities. It has also connected cultures in ways that were never possible before, even this article I'm writing from my desk, I have no idea where it'll end up, and that's the beauty of Technology.


Thank you so much for reading, my friend! :] I really hope you learned something new today, if you have anything to add don't hesitate to leave a comment.

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