In the next 10 years, a wave of technological solutions will revolutionize every part of our lives, either to address our existing problems or in the worst case to exacerbate them. As a world, we face challenges related to man and the planet. Innovation is vital to solving these problems.
For example, in Rwanda, Africa, they only have one radiologist for 1 million people, at a time when AI-driven radiological evaluations are as assertive as those done by trained professionals. Thanks to telemedicine, access to healthcare can reach millions. Health bots, powered by AI, have led Rwanda to be one of the most advanced countries in digital health.
Technology can tackle many problems at once. In India, satellite and drone imagery not only helps farmers detect pests but also leads to economic resilience and alleviates hunger.
However, technology solutions also present challenges. In the case of radiological evaluations of IA, the training is based on Western patients, without being very sure how a patient on the other side of the world might be affected. These radiological evaluation data are stored in American servers, therefore guidelines must be established that protect the confidentiality of the patient and that comply with the regulatory framework of other nations.
These circumstances raise a big question: can leaders keep up with innovation and apply technology governance?
The Center for the Fourth Industrial Revolution (C4IR) of the World Economic Forum was created to test solutions to these problems. The C4IR works with governments, businessmen, and civil society to develop technological approaches that maximize the benefits and cushion the risks of emerging technologies.
In the case of Rwanda, the C4IR is developing policies for the use of AI to ensure the privacy of the medical records of radiological patients. In India, technological advances in agriculture, health, and mobility continue.
These changes lead us to see the importance of creating solutions that are not short-term, addressing problems comprehensively to change the system. The different voices of sectors and localities give more force to the matter. “Today’s leaders can scale more than just technology – they can scale a responsible approach to life in the digital age,” says Jeremy Jurgens, director of the World Economic Forum.
It is essential to discuss how technology fits into our lives and to that end, the C4IR presented its Inaugural Global Technology Governance Summit in April. The event, organized by Japan, brought together business leaders, entrepreneurs, and academics with the purpose of designing solutions that are fair to society.
Access to technology plays a vital role in the development of a tech-focused world. Two thirds of the world’s school-age children – or 1.3 billion children aged 3 to 17 years old – do not have internet connection in their homes, according to a new joint report from UNICEF and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU)
The heart of these conversations and the will that accompanied them must not fade away. The technology created today can shape how we will live for decades to come, and leaders must create the circumstances to live responsibly in the digital age.
If we want to make a tangible difference, we must stand together; and if you want to give back, remember that your old computers can help us solve this problem in a sustainable and scalable way.