According to the United Nations SDGs, about 736 million people still lived in extreme poverty in 2015, earning less than $1.90 per day. About 50 percent of those people were under the age of 18, and the majority lived in South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa. Poverty also exists in high-income countries. For example, in 2017, the US Census Bureau estimated that 12.3 percent of Americans lived in poverty. Prosperity has a major impact on many other global grand challenges, including access to food, water, energy, healthcare, learning opportunities, and more. Exponential technologies, through their price/performance curves, can create a world of abundance. As we digitize industries like food, shelter, energy, learning and more, technology should dramatically lower the cost of products, goods, and services in these industries. Dr. Peter H. Diamandis, Executive Founder and Director of SU, suggests that we may have a future where everything from food to cars to shelter will eventually all cost $1 per pound. We have already seen this trend in the learning GGC with the digitization of education, in the health GGC in such areas as DNA sequencing, and in the shelter GGC with such innovations as the ICON 3D printed house. But how do we know if this trend will eventually make basic goods truly affordable to everyone? After all, income inequality is rising rapidly in many countries around the world.
Several factors seem to inﬂuence how evenly abundance spreads. Note ﬁrst, a country without access to the internet and reliable energy may be unlikely to beneﬁt from the fruits of digitization— although some argue they are poised for leapfrogging legacy technologies that hold wealthier countries back. Leaders and innovators need to pay close attention to this dynamic when developing solutions.
Second, business models impact the spread of abundance. When an innovator infuses technology into his or her company, it will eventually generate proﬁts or reduce costs even if it’s initially
expensive. Who will reap those gains? Companies like ReGen Villages (see the Shelter GGC) that are creating tech-infused communities with new technologies to generate food, water, and energy onsite allow excess goods to be sold outside the village to pay community fees, mortgages, or possibly even generate life-long incomes for residents. This abundance-based business model shares the beneﬁts of technology with customers, creating more value for everyone—and a more competitive business model. It matters to the whole of society if founders keep proﬁts for themselves or redistribute them in the form of high wages or stocks to employees or lower prices for customers. Innovators need to think through the long-term consequences of their business models.
When we think of prosperity, we also think of digitizing the ﬁnancial services industry. Over the last decade, companies like Kiva. org have pioneered solutions for poverty through small digital peer-to-peer loans as well as a plethora of new blockchain and cryptocurrency companies. At a high level, these digital ﬁnancial companies and services could increase prosperity in the same way as companies like ReGen Villages—by redistributing proﬁts and efficiencies, often by transforming how transactions happen between different players in the economy, whether that is creating a new type of transaction or eliminating a transaction and reducing the cut that goes to the middle person. Remember, though, that at the end of the day, people are deciding who beneﬁts from the proﬁt of the technology—the founder, the investor, the worker, or the customer. Our values lie at the heart of how abundance spreads.
In addition to business and economic models, it also matters how new technology companies and industries are developed. Currently, new technology companies often come from existing technologists and displace legacy companies or non-technologists. But there are better ways to operate. For example, ICON collaborated with the nonproﬁt New Story (see the Shelter GGC) to ensure that their affordable 3D printed houses were designed to work for lower-income communities and engage existing workers in the housing industry.
Similarly, many technology companies now working on new agtech robots or cultured meat have an opportunity to engage the legacy industries. While the legacy industries may not have access to the latest technologies, they have access to industry knowledge, customer knowledge, and other industry players. By not collaborating, tech industries risk losing that critical information and destroying local economies. Governments might consider their role in bridging collaborations between new tech companies and legacy companies.
Finally, exponential technologies can also help track progress in tackling poverty. Groups such as the World Poverty Clock are using big data collected from international organizations and the predictive power of artiﬁcial intelligence to analyze poverty rates in real time at the country level. Groups such as the ixo Foundation are using blockchain to automatically release international development funds when social organizations achieve their impact goals. The Millenium Villages Project uses satellite data to assess poverty at the village level.
Another key question relates to the future of jobs and technological unemployment: How will technology impact the jobs sector? Currently, many different individuals and institutions are trying to predict the answer. While these projections vary greatly in the medium term and long term, they are more consistent when predicting the short term. For example, we can see that people working in transportation, retail, and agriculture are in danger of being displaced in the next ﬁve years. Given that, we can start helping those people today.
While part of the technological unemployment challenge is to ensure that people have access to work to support themselves economically, many people wonder about the future of human purpose and meaning when robots increasingly take over our jobs. In this sense, part of solving the prosperity challenge also means helping humanity ﬁnd purpose and meaning in a world where work may not be a primary source of satisfaction.
DGTAL.AI Inc.16192,Coastal Highway,Lewes,Delaware
UN identified Sustainable Development Goals(SDG) , which need attention of world communities, Technological innovations offer great solution to address these. We at DGTAL.AI discuss SDGs and Technological solutions under single platform for the benefit of tech enthusiasts and talents and add value towards the solutions, thereby serving the cause of a billion people.DGTAL.AI is not for profit initiative.
Copyright © 2020, DGTAL.AI Inc.
DGTAL.AI News & Views of Exponential Tech world