We can safely say that the advancement of technology over the years is something that is fascinating and mesmerizing to many. From inventions big and small, technology has streamlined how we can do certain things in our lives.
More so, in the last year, we have relied on technology more than ever. Separated from friends and family, technology has been the one way of keeping in contact with our loved ones and has enabled businesses to continue working, but in different environments and locations than usual.
While the more affluent countries around the world have been able to continue in this “new normal,” the thoughts of some people may well be turning to the poorer countries around the world and how they have been managing throughout the pandemic.
With lesser access to facilities like those that we are blessed with, it can be challenging to imagine how they have managed, mainly when we rely on social media and technology in the more affluent countries.
While this is the case, there have been advancements in the technological world, which could well be used to help those who live in some of the world’s most impoverished communities. We will be considering one such technology here today: Artificial Intelligence (AI).
What is Artificial Intelligence and How Does it Work?
For those who are not technologically inclined, this could be a somewhat more difficult question to answer. There are multiple components to what makes up AI and the different ways that it could be used.
As defined by Wikipedia and other online forums, AI is the intelligence that is displayed by machines. However, while the machines and their algorithms display similar intelligence to that which we possess as humans, the machines do not show other natural intelligence, like emotions and other related intelligence shown by humans and animals.
While machines are limited regarding showing or displaying emotions, there are thousands of other things that the machines could do. In other terms, capable machines, and which are created with AI technology in mind, can quickly and correctly problem solve and learn new skills and algorithms through data and other means.
AI technology is used in numerous fields and industries, but none more so than those that require a high level of problem-solving. This can include the likes of mathematics, engineering, linguistics, and more. If there is a problem to be solved, then essentially, AI technology could be used to solve it.
How Could AI Technology Assist Those in the World’s Poorest Communities?
Again, another question that is challenging to answer but could have been on global experts’ minds for some time.
In 2016, AI algorithms were used by Stanford University researchers, including Marshall Burke. Burke and his team were interested in mapping the levels of poverty in specific African countries but on a scale of low to high levels of poverty.
While it would have been a monumental task to input the data by hand, the researchers instead fed the AI algorithms for it to figure out the information for itself. When the research concluded, it was found that the AI had predicted between 81-99 percent of poverty more accurately than previous models. Indeed, something to consider when analyzing the ways that AI could help the most impoverished communities.
What is more, many experts worldwide who are working to combat poverty believe that AI could be used to fight poverty and could help to improve the yield of crops in certain drought-ridden countries.
Elisabeth Mason – also of Stanford University – stated that with the use of AI and technology in countries where access to information is relatively low, that the levels of those receiving subpar educations could be reduced drastically.
Using AI education systems, which adapt to suit the user’s specific needs, could well lead the way in eradicating poverty once and for all.
How Could This Happen?
The short answer to this question: with adequate funding and investment. Giants of the technology world, including IBM, have invested heavily into AI technology to contribute towards its use in tackling disparities in education levels globally. They are, however, not the only ones.
Leading Technologist, Tej Kohli, has also invested heavily in the AI technology world through his international fund, Rewired. Pioneering research and investment into AI, and how it revolutionizes global healthcare and power economies, Kohli – and in extension, Rewired – possesses the belief that everyone should have an improved quality of life, no matter how that happens.
Believing that AI could be a world-leading tool in 2025, and more specifically, dominating the USA and China markets, Rewired is a revolutionary force to be reckoned with!
With AI technology developing by the day and with its prevalence in our everyday lives, there is no surprise that this could be used as a tool to combat issues like poverty and education disparities. Through further investment into tools like these and increasing the number of people who could access tools like these, the future could undoubtedly appear brighter than right now.
When going back to the original question of whether AI Tech Could Help the World’s Poorest Communities, it does appear to be that way. Technology seems to be leading us into the future; let’s embrace it with open arms!
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I am Adeyemi Adetilewa, a media consultant, entrepreneur, husband, and father. Founder and Editor-In-Chief of Ideas Plus Business Magazine, online business resources for entrepreneurs. I help brands share unique and impactful stories through the use of public relations, advertising, and online marketing. My work has been featured on the Huffington Post, Thrive Global, Addicted2Success, Hackernoon, The Good Men Project, and other publications.