Technology: A Force for Good, in the Right Hands
With great technology, comes great responsibility...
3 min read
I’m sure you’ve watched Terminator and other similar movies where humans are overthrown by robotic overlords. Movies such as these were made only a few years ago when we as a society believed these events to be extremely far off. But are they really?
With recent technological developments such as Tesla’s self-driving car, it seems as if we’re reaching that point where robots attaining human emotions and desires is possible within the not too distant future. Now before you go running around and freaking out about our impending doom, I want to remind you of two things: a future where robots rise up against is still long ways off and that with increased technological developments, we are increasing our capacity to do good. For example, let’s take a look at how, when it is in the right hands, technology is most definitely a force for good.
Jude Ower had been writing games for twelve years when she noticed something in 2010, right after the earthquake in Haiti. There was an option in Farmville, another game, where if the user purchased an in-house item, a certain percentage of the purchase would be donated to relief funds in Haiti. This method was so successful that it raised over one million dollars in funds in just a few couple of days!
Jude then came up with the brilliant idea to launch Playmob, a platform which connects game and mobile developers with charities. The platform sets up in-game advertising campaigns. The player simply needs to click on a link within the game to donate money to a specific charity. Through this method, Ower and Playmob have aided numerous charities including those who counsel teenagers who are cyberbullied, protect pandas, and educate students in Africa and Asia. The best part about this platform is that the user can track what they’ve done, how many trees they planted, how many mouths were fed, etc. This super successful platform raised more than one million dollars during a five year period!
Computer Program for Those with Parkinson’s Disease
During the month of January, my friends and I attended a hackathon (an overnight programming competition). Our project was a program which would help those afflicted with Parkinson’s disease to more easily use a computer. A member of our team had experienced the hardships personally as his paternal grandfather had Parkinson’s disease. He realized first-hand how there were so few programs to aid them.
Through very minimal movement, the user would be able to complete all the actions an average computer user could do. By tilting their head and blinking, the user could move the mouse around and click on the screen respectively. Similarly, we had a list of voice commands which, when spoken, would carry out a specific action such as writing an essay, opening a browser, and much more.
Drones have started becoming more and more popular as technology has advanced. They are being used in numerous applications including agriculture, crime fighting, reforestation, restoration, and search and rescue missions. Drones are especially useful in dangerous situations when it may be a better idea to send in a robot then endanger a human life. In general, drones are used in situations where either the issue is that of humans’ limited capability or that of danger.
All in all, just as Uncle Ben in Spiderman said, with great power comes great responsibility. As technology continues to advance at such a rapid pace, it is up to us, the engineers, customers, and society, in general, to ensure that the technology is being used to better mankind.
Stephanie Almeida is a senior at a high school focused on engineering. She will study computer science at the Georgia Institute of Technology in the fall. When she isn't dancing and singing at the top of her lungs to the top hits or playing with her puppy Max, you can find her competing with other programmers at hackathons or teaching coding to students from impoverished districts. In her spare time, Stephanie enjoys trying exotic cuisines; food is her ultimate love! After college, Stephanie wants to found a startup which focuses on developing technology to help children with problems such as bullying.