Can Technology End Poverty?

Authors: by Susan Davis
Source: HBR Blog Network

If you believe the hype, technology is going to help us end global poverty. Advances have indeed made a huge difference in the lives of the poor, but there's also a healthy amount of skepticism out there. Berkeley researcher Kentaro Toyama has a blog dedicated to calling out naïve or inappropriate uses of information and communication technologies (ICT). Calling himself the ICT4D jester (using the development jargon for "information and communication technologies for development"), he has no shortage of material. We've all heard stories of computers that sit unused in African classrooms; on a recent post, the jester takes aim at texting cows

The organization I'm part of, BRAC, is known for going to scale with solutions that are often radically low-tech. We're more likely to scale up birthing kits that cost less than 50 cents apiece than mobile apps that might diagnose disease; more likely to open one-room schools in rented spaces or even boats, where children sit on the floor and learn to think creatively, than insist that every pupil have Internet access.

Read the Rest at HBR Blog Network

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