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Today, technology touches nearly every aspect of our daily lives, affecting our activities both online and offline. Technology has empowered us to exercise our rights by offering us new opportunities to build connections and share ideas beyond our immediate circle. The internet has widened our possibilities for work, education, access to healthcare and many more.
In the event of the International Human Rights Day observed on the 10th of December let us take a review on how technology has empowered and supported the human race in general.
According to the data with the UN, one billion people in the world are slum dwellers. And a slum is an urban area marked by crowding, poverty and social disorganization. Their large and sprawling nature makes it difficult for governments to develop slum areas. Slum dwellers are mostly in conflict with authorities who do not have an idea about what to do with slums, especially when it comes to the relocation of the dwellers. But technology has been capable of devising a number of solutions for this.
An instance of introducing technology in slum areas would be in the urban slums of Nairobi. Here the introduction of mobile payments has revolutionized the lives of thousands of Kenyans in improving their living conditions. Before the introduction of M-Pesa, residents were faced with a regular hunt to buy a 22-litre can of water in person, after standing for hours in long queues at one of the local banking halls. M-Pesa, a mobile-based payment service allows users to transfer money via-text between customers, banks and companies, which also includes Nairobi's Water and Sewerage Co., enabling residents an easy way to pay their water bills, with reliable access to clean water directly to their homes.
Encouraging Social Mobility
If you look at technological influence in the western world, it hasn't always been associated with social mobility. Though there has been increasing criticism on technology-induced movements spreading social inequality, there are also some good examples of technology-enabled movements that are giving individuals the tools they need to elevate themselves out of discrimination.
Beam is an example to quote. Crowdfunding has been a tool used effectively by tech firms for some time but Beam uses it to support the homeless to rebuild their lives. Beam encourages people to 'crowdfund' for practical training courses so as to arm them with skills they require to achieve for financial independence and also providing them with a sense of purpose.
Outreach Grid is a software and a mobile platform that reaches out to homeless people and works in collaboration with enforcement agencies as a collaborative tool to get a glance to understand the state of homelessness in the city, so as to deliver better care faster.
A platform to be heard
Social media campaigns such as #MeToo and #Oscarssowhite have exposed the disparities of gender and race across many industries adding pressure on many businesses and societies to examine the ways in which they can strike a balance.
In the midst of negativity, the internet in recent years has had a feeling of the lawlessness about it. But it has set a change in the society bringing about a wave of change in such a huge scale. For better or for worse, the internet presents a space for us to unite behind a cause across borders, regions, and countries, harnessing the power of technology to drive us in a positive direction.