At its best, technology doesn’t just make society more efficient and economically competitive. It also helps make the world better. Unprecedented steps, such as Google’s 1 Billion Initiative, reflect a continuing and growing trend that links technology with positive social impact.
Increasing “tech for good” is paralleled by a broader societal trend that connects business and investing with positive social change. Currently, the global impact investing market is estimated to be $502 billion. While, many find business for change practices dubious, the prevalence of social transformation across various fields has not seemed to decrease.
Beyond charitable donations and investments, tech companies are also leveraging leading-edge products and services to provide best-in-class technical support to environmental and social good. Over the years, theCUBE, SiliconANGLE Media’s mobile livestreaming studio, has featured several stories of companies tangibly supporting larger initiatives for social change. Here are four of theCUBE’s interviews from 2019 that feature stories for social good, including leveraging mobile gaming to reduce pollution, data to combat human trafficking, data security to support disaster relief volunteers, and database development to promote animal welfare.
Leveraging mobile gaming to reduce pollution
Many gamers immerse themselves in alternate worlds for the experience of heroism and adventure. Last summer, a group of young technologists linked these desires to the real-world challenge of minimizing pollution with the app Teco. The developers, a group of young girls from Kazakhstan, called Team Coco, created the app when they noticed students at their school bypassing special eco trash boxes in their hallways and sites around their neighborhood.
Team Coco used their programming skills to design an augmented-reality app that would allow youth to take on the avatars of astronauts to have fun visiting and using these eco-friendly resources. Since its launch, Team Coco has seen the once-empty eco boxes in their hallways and community filling up.
The Teco app aims to continue their work to strengthen a community of environmental stewardship across central Asia, and as they expand, the world.
“We plan to expand, not only in our country, Kazakhstan, not only locally, but also globally,” said Team Coco member Dilnaz Kamalova. “We would like to create the eco-friendly community across Central Asia since we want to make sure that eco-consciousness is global in our area.” Learn more about Team Coco at the Oracle-sponsored Technovation World Pitch Summit 2019 here.
Data helps combat human trafficking
Human trafficking is a $150-billion criminal enterprise. There are more than 40 million victims of human trafficking globally, of which many are children, according to the International Labor Organization. The non-profit Polaris Project addresses human trafficking by providing a national hotline to support survivors, maintaining a large data set of human trafficking cases, and collaborating with large corporations for support.
This field had been “tech starved” for a while, according to Polaris Executive Director Brad Myles. However, through continued collaborations with Amazon Web Services Inc. for data management, the organization is able to crunch more than 60 terabytes of data per day, as more than 150 variables from each hotline are collected. Naturally, data sets, including 50,000 cases of trafficking, involve very sensitive data.
Polaris’ data analysis is also sharpening the knowledge of organizations committed to ending human trafficking. More and enhanced data “makes the trafficking field smarter [about] where victims are recruited from, [intervention] points, and [where] survivors might have a moment to kind of get help and get out,” according to Myles. Learn more about how Polaris is harnessing data to support the end of human trafficking here.