Solving Social Problems: 11 Ways New Tech Can Help

13th February 2019

That there are a lot of long-standing problems facing people is not news. 

There are multitudes of people  around the globe who don't have enough to eat, lack access to clean  water or are simply prevented from elevating their socioeconomic status. 

Alleviating societal issues is neither a simple nor a quick process.  New technologies do offer alternate paths forward, however. 

Artificial  intelligence, for instance -- especially combined with data gathered  from a variety of sources -- can help curate information. This means a  better identification of medical concerns, the ability to develop  renewable food sources or the improvement of safety in our communities.

There are more problems facing the world than can be easily listed. The items below, gathered from members of Forbes Technology Council, are a jumping-off point that identify problems and provide suggestions for potential solutions.

1. Climate Change

Climate change will become the most significant destabilizing global  issue. Technology can help in myriad ways, from making electric cars  mainstream and building alternative sources of energy to replace coal to  creating more efficient buildings, non-polluting air  conditioning systems and desalination systems. - Leah AllenRadius

2. Poverty

I think we can eliminate poverty by using technology to create more  jobs and open up a wider marketplace for those in developing countries  to reach an audience that would be interested in buying what they make  or offer. Ensuring everyone has equal access to the internet can  certainly go a long way to creating a way for more people to  economically sustain themselves. - Chalmers BrownDue

3. Education

Technologies like online courses and robots in the classroom allow  for a higher-quality and standardized delivery of curriculum by experts  who really understand the subjects being taught. This type of education  dramatically increases access both for urban and rural classrooms that  lack the resources to maintain a well-trained staff. - Richard MargolinRoboKind

4. The Economy 

VR will be a transformative tool to train workers displaced by  automation in developed economies and workers entering the workforce in  emerging economies. VR can program/reprogram the human mind to learn new  skills more effectively, with better learning and long-term retention.  "VR-Cades" can circumvent expensive university and polytechnic courses  while saving the trainees' money and time. - Siddharth BanerjeeIndusgeeks USA Inc.

5. Voting

Democracies depend on the participation of their citizens. We do this  mostly through the power of voting. However, we still have poor  participation and tremendous concern with voting accuracy. Blockchain's  underlying technology -- the concept of the trust database -- could be  used to facilitate universal participation in elections and to assure  that there will not be any tampering with results. - Paul BloughBloughTech

6. Health Care

I strongly believe that by incorporating the right technology tools  into the health care system, we could see a huge improvement in patient  outcomes, as well as big savings for hospitals. To accomplish this on a  larger scale, we need to see professionals in the medical industry who  are willing to embrace the technology and technology companies that are  open to listening to the needs of medical professionals. - Marcus TurnerEnola Labs

7. Senior Isolation

The elderly often feel isolated, but we have technology based around  video conferencing and telepresence that could alleviate some of that  isolation when a physical presence isn’t possible. - Stephen CoxSecureAuth

8. Public Safety

Kidnappings, ambushes and reports of rape are words that we  unfortunately read in headlines on a regular basis. Glasses or  IoT-enabled personal devices with face recognition technologies  connected to a database of criminals may be able to proactively warn  when known offenders are in close proximity, while peer-to-peer,  location-based emergency communication technologies can enable victims  to seek help from law enforcement or others nearby. - Amit Mondal, PowerSchool

9. Police Brutality

Police brutality is what pops first to mind. When police wear body cameras, reports of  police violence drop off a cliff. A universal technology mandate would  also protect police officers from baseless claims of excessive use of  force. - Timothy ChavesZipBooks Online Bookkeeping Services

10. Farming

Leveraging e-commerce technologies to improve access to healthier  options will help save trillions of dollars in health care, help  families live healthier, happier lives and make the healthier options  affordable. With deep learning technologies, we can do analysis and  predictions on how we farm our crops and livestock, allowing us to  evaluate and optimize the sustainability of farming. - Kay Lee, Thrive Market

11. Safe Drinking Water

With large-scale IoT and the cloud, we now have the ability to  monitor infrastructure on a global scale. If we applied this technology  and aligned strategy, I believe we could bring safe drinking water to  most of the world. Safe drinking water is foundational in the journey  out of poverty. - Kurt Dykema, Twisthink