Technology – A Force Multiplier For Societal Development

Publised on: 19 - 02 -2019
- Shipra Sharma, Head of CSR, L&T Infotech (LTI)

Technological innovation and Information Communication Technologies (ICTs) represent a way for developing world nations to foster economic development, improve levels of education and training, as well as address gender issues within society.
And while the above represents what most of us experience in our lives, there exists a population of almost 736 million people which live on less than $1.90 a day (as per a World Bank report of 2015). This segment lives in extreme poverty caused by dearth of access to good schools, health care, electricity, safe water, and limitations of other critical services. Statistically, the figure seems to be declining with time, however, there is uneven growth and disparities of income which remain to be addressed.
One of the key roles technology plays is to bridge real time gaps between demand and supply sides. Not just does it bring with it a lot of convenience but also transparency and governance in many organizations and at the Government level. Technological innovation and Information Communication Technologies (ICTs) represent a way for developing world nations to foster economic development, improve levels of education and training, as well as address gender issues within society.
Here are some of the instances where technology could bring in a major transition in socio economic development-

  • Seamless interaction among stakeholders across geographies. The internet has brought the world closer. One does not need to travel anymore to meet friends, family or for business. Wireless technology and ICT infrastructure development is also vital for entrepreneurship and small business development. Examples like Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram have promoted small scale and budding entrepreneurs pursue their ventures.
  • Large scale Government surveys that require intensive man power to travel at grass root level and capture survey data on a door to door basis, needs to then consolidate to arrive at figures for analysis, making accuracy key to effective planning can be made swifter by making data capturing through simple mobile applications. This not only speeds up the process of consolidation, but also brings in efficiencies, real time monitoring of places covered vs remaining and addressing gaps or fake data being recorded.
  • Sharing of policies and citizen rights through websites, tracking supply chain of Government benefits could increase transparency and governance and build nation’s trust. By providing the network as a highly secure and resilient service delivery platform, you can share information and collaborate across a community’s ecosystem of government agencies and private sector partners to facilitate utilities planning, transportation systems enhancements, and health and government social services needs.
  • Remote and tribal areas could be tapped by setting up high tech health monitoring systems and locals can be trained in simple operations of the machinery. These parameters can be shared with doctors from cities who otherwise might not be able to travel large distances and medication can be prescribed, helping improve the health statistics in rural regions.
  • Use of energy efficient lighting and sensors in large buildings can reduce electricity consumptions and thereby emissions. Technology needs assessments are now being recognized as a valuable tool for governments to implement country-driven processes and projects leading to sizeable energy savings and emission reductions
  • Quality education is key for preparing the workforce of the future. Workers with better foundational skills—which include not only basic reading, writing, numeracy but also social and emotional skills and digital literacy—are better placed to learn new skills and adapt to working with new technologies.
  • Rainwater harvesting technologies are simple to install and operate. Local people can be easily trained to implement such technologies, and construction materials are usually readily available. Use of rainwater harvesting technology promotes self-sufficiency and has minimal environmental impact. Running costs are reasonably low. Rainwater harvesting and its application to achieving higher crop yields can encourage farmers to diversify their enterprises, such as increasing production, upgrading their choice of crop, purchasing larger livestock animals or investing in crop improvement inputs such as irrigation infrastructure, fertilizers and pest management.
We can see how technology can play a key role in making available a resource which was once scarce. Countries like Japan which have come up with innovative solutions to make life simpler- their military technology, renewable energy innovation, discovery of x-ray are a few examples. US today has one of the finest intelligence systems owing to the advance technological equipment, South Korea’s LG & Samsung have leading examples of in production of air conditioners, robots, televisions, computers, trains, airplanes, helicopters, cars. Sanskrit was considered as the most useful language for the computer system and most of the new software technology comes from India. Israel’s breakthrough innovation in agriculture has turned deserts into green pastures.
While these are all the brighter side of the fence, technology today is both an enabler and a threat to environmental damage. While future prosperity is sure to be driven through advances in robotics, 3D printing, artificial intelligence, and the internet of things, some of them could also pose new challenges for the work force. Emphasis on responsible usage and focus on generating new occupations and industries leveraging technology could be the next innovation opportunity waiting to unfold itself.