Tech for Agri, Tech for Good

Black Mirror showed us the scary, dark side of technology. But with SenseTech, a global mobilization initiative of MakeSense, the power of technology can be harnessed to achieve the sustainable development goals.

In the Philippines, the related event held on February 22, 2018 at Penbrothers Makati focused on sustainable agriculture. The speakers were Jim Cano of Young Professionals for Agricultural Development (YPARD) Philippines; Rodolfo Ramirez of 8layer Technologies; and Jericho Arellano and Ian Mia from the start-ups, LakbayAnihan and Lungtian, respectively.

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The discussion highlighted some of the issues of the agriculture sector such as lack of government support, uninterested youth, and technology not being maximized due to limited internet connectivity. However, it was noted how SMS or text messaging in itself can already be a helpful tool in providing critical information. This access to relevant information paired with collaboration can magnify the positive impact of technology.

The Tech for Agri event also featured the special performance of artist Jean Paul Zialcita who uses unconventional musical instruments such as water container, goat horns, pieces of wood, and others.

MakeSense is a growing community that is mainly run by volunteers with about 22,000 members worldwide. They empower people to engage in projects and help social entrepreneurs solve concrete challenges to contribute to solutions for some of the biggest problems we face today.

 

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#2030 NOW, rallying the good in all of us

I feel like I’m a technology averse person. Up until now, I don’t have a smartphone and that makes me an embarrassment to millennials. I don’t have Twitter and Instagram accounts, just Facebook. I’m not even taking advantage of this for the fear of oversharing or being attacked. Social media is now being used to spread anger and hatred. Plus, it saddens me how technology disconnects people personally. Thankfully, I was able to attend Innovation + Social Good, a Rappler event which highlighted for me a positive side of technology.

Social media can change lives. Rupert Ambil of Move.PH cited Daniel Cabrera’s story as an example. How a photo of him, a homeless boy who used the light from a McDonald’s restaurant to study, became viral and gathered support for his studies.

With technology, people can find and be part of a community as mentioned by the Founder of Thinking Machines, Stephanie Sy.

Disaster preparedness and response improved through innovations such as Agos and Project NOAH which facilitate the ease of information dissemination especially when disasters strike.

Also with technology and innovation, people are more empowered to make better decisions. These among others bring about positive impact and change, and help solve complex problems of the society.

Aside from inspiring talks, Innovation + Social Good also gathered different groups and organizations doing their part to contribute to sustainable development goals. In a world shrouded in negativity, there’s still hope after all. For a change, it’s nice to focus not on problems but on solutions – the social good that we are capable of doing, demonstrating the good that we all possess.

Truly, technology presents endless possibilities paired with scary challenges. But since the future is now, what we can do is to adapt and to use this tool not to destroy the world but make it a better one.