Written by Antoine Delaunay

In our minds, hyper-modern technologies are not tech for good but rather tech for evil imagined by red-eyed robots in1984-like societies. Indeed, in most dystopic fictions, technology is presented as somewhat evil or at least unpredictable.

Yet this is not totally absurd… as those fictions are a reflection of human fears about a world where private data is captured and where we are controlled by mechanisms we cannot understand. Moreover, all of this probably serves the interest of big financial companies… To cut it short: a world where humans are alienated by technology rather than empowered by it!

“Why do we design technology? This is the fundamental question to be asked.” Pr. Yunus

Pr. Yunus asking fundamental questions

We tend to forget that technology is neutral, and that, as Pr. Yunus says, it’s the way to design it that matters to serve social purposes.

It can be used to create grassroot innovative solutions that respond to specific needs, but it can also be used to scale solutions to respond to needs at larger scale.

Today we take you on a tour to discover 7 tangible examples of technology-based social solutions.


#1 – Panda

Vision: Artificial intelligence to help visually impaired people

Panda transforms your phone camera into a smartguide. They “turn ears into eyes” as they say. Thanks to tons of real-time data-crushing, the Panda technology literally tells blind people where things are.

Note that this is made possible thanks to an Open Database compiling thousands of different pictures. They enable the Panda artificial intelligence (AI) learn how to recognize items faster and more accurately.

 


#2 –RogerVoice & AVA 

Vision: Artificial intelligence to make (SOCIAL) life accessible to deaf peoplE

These two smartphone apps transcribe oral conversations into text in real-time. Latest progress in computation power and artificial intelligence enable translations of 3 million words without human input. The life-changing technology is stored in a cloud, accessible to anyone from any kind of connected device.

This is exponential impact: millions of lives can be improved thanks to a single tech for good innovation.

 

IMPACT: 100,000 people use AVA daily & 100,000 phone-calls are made using Roger.

 


#3 – Aid.Tech 

Vision: Blockchain & Refugees – crypto-cash!

Storage and use of money is a challenge for refugees. That’s where Blockchain makes the difference – think of it as shared digital ledger to store sensitives data. social projects like Aid.Tech as well as UN agencies built digital money solutions to make shopping easy for families in camps.

IMPACT: 500 smart-vouchers to 100 Syrian families in refugees camps in Lebanon.

 

Next-stop: make donation traceable, just like BitGive does – check out the Blockchain event we hosted in Paris.

 


#4 – Epidemium: Open Data to kick Cancer !

Vision: community-based open science TO FIGHT CANCER.

Epidemium is a network of researchers sharing data sets and tools to uncover new solutions against cancer. Open Data is the heart of the project: increasing the quantity and diversity of data enables new research approaches that wouldn’t have been possible otherwise.

IMPACT: 15 research projects gathering 100+ researchers.

 


#5 – SolarChange & Blockchain

Vision: the energy network of the people, by the people, for the people!

Incentivizing to generate renewable energy with cryptocurrency? This might be a key to disseminate local and renewable energy production. How does this work? Thanks to the Blockchain technology, local energy producer -i.e. people who own a solar panel- are rewarded automatically with 1 SolarCoin each time they produce 1MW/h worth of solar energy.

Tomorrow, SolarCoins will allow anyone to purchase energy from another renewables producer!

IMPACT: 36,728,896 SolarCoins (and counting) have been generated.

 


#6KINDVR & Virtual reality

Vision: immersive technology for pain management

Virtual-reality is still growing out of adolescence. Yet, pilot projects already proved their potential in the health field to reduce pain for patients and doctors. VR provides the patient with distraction and immersive entertainment that decrease pain levels, anxiety and time spent thinking about pain.

IMPACT: 1000+ children benefit from VR solutions in 10+ hospitals.

 


#7 – Forest-preservation and Drones : Seed bombing!

Aerial reforestation plant faster and more efficiently than ever. The seeds are contained in fully biodegradable “bombs”, designed to ensure high germination rates.

IMPACT: 70% success rate: a potential powerful tool to reforest large areas.

 


TAKE ACTION :

Do you want to extend your understanding of tech for good social goals? We can connect you with the nearest social entrepreneur and expert to organize a drink, conference or webinar. Email us at basile@makesense.org

See the 3 lessons Basile learnt in NYC while organizing a workshop on how disruptive techno & social business can help achieve Global Goals.

Register as a tech mentor.