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V K Madhavan

Operations Director , A4e India Pvt Ltd

TEDCRED 200+

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Technology can improve life - even dramatically - but to believe that it is the panacea of poverty or hunger is flawed.

Increasingly, people are seeking technological solutions to poverty and hunger. While technology could address issues of information asymmetry, this would be possible only if the poor possess or can easily access technology. The belief that technology - in particular the internet and mobiles - can solve these problems is an oversimplification of the causes of poverty and hunger and can lead to the alleviation efforts being misdirected.

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  • Jul 25 2011: I think one needs to be cautious about broad statements here. Technology has seen massive price crashes, and access to information has become easier than ever. There are problems of information asymmetry in the world, but these problems are actually narrowing. Access to the internet and mobile devices can do a lot to solve a lot of problems in the world, namely by providing information about what has and has not worked in the past. It still takes determined individuals and groups, organization and collaboration and a strong collective will to do what is necessary for solutions. I think technology can provide tools to help build upon a good foundation, but the foundation has to be there. Ecaterina Sanalatii's gave some insightful comments, to which I'd say that this is basically the difference between web2.0 and web1.0 and that the technology itself is changing so that it is easier to do the 2nd type of solutions rather than the first type. Technological infrastructure is immensely important, and having it is valuable for solving all kinds of problems, but the type and nature of that infrastructure has to be correct for those problems.

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