Where is innovation taking us?

We asked a few industry leaders that question this year. And it is a good time of the year to revisit some of those predictions.

 

“On a personal level, I am thrilled by the extraordinary innovation advancing the frontiers of technology. However, what is exciting for an individual may prove to be devastating at a societal level. Many of our institutions have only adapted superficially to new technology. Are these institutions ready for the radical transformations that technology will likely bring about in the years ahead? We are going to need transformative innovations in our democratic institutions, education system, social safety net, and news media. These innovations can help to reduce inequality, avoid mass unemployment, and make our societies truly sustainable,” said Steve Kenzie, Executive Director, UN Global Compact Network UK.

 

Christopher Fabian, Principle Advisor, UNICEF Ventures, Office of Innovation, told Innovators Magazine: “Technological change has the ability to advance the rights and opportunities of children. UNICEF’s Venture Fund invests in emerging technologies which we believe show great promise for humanity. Data science and machine learning can tell us where an epidemic is spreading but also, potentially, diagnose malnutrition from a child’s photograph.

“Drones will soon be delivering the first vaccines in a set of controlled trials in Vanuatu. Crypto-currency and distributed ledgers and blockchains can provide immutable, non-sovereign records of a young person’s identity, education, or health needs.

“UNICEF has always focused on ensuring the rights of children, particularly the most vulnerable – and we will have an additional role in the next decade to ensure that, as these tremendous technological advances move forward, we create systems for algorithmic equity, neutrality of data sets, and services that benefit the world’s poorest and least-connected citizens.”

 

“Technology and the flow of information will create enormous opportunities for education, particularly in emerging markets. These will help to democratize education; levelling the global playing field with accessibility, through online programs, and emerging technologies that can create a unique user experience for each child. Through virtual reality and augmented reality, students will see and experience events happening across the globe like never before. They will brought into the global community through education programs. AI will be able to identify the areas where a student is struggling and work through techniques to provide them help precisely on the areas they need. It will also allow the more advanced learners to be stretched without being held back. As educators begin to embrace new tools, they will have the ability to be more effective in the time they spend with each learner. The real-time, global reach, teach me now and teach it for me characteristics each alone are enormous, but together they can blow off the walls of education as we think of it today,” added Katherine Manuel, Senior Vice President, Innovation, Thomson Reuters.

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