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Value of Humanitarian Technology at the Base of the Pyramid

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Dr Stefanie Ullmann.

Abstract: Technology is critical to the future well-being of society and to drive economic development. It is also a conduit to endless possibilities that drive sustainable growth and leads to the betterment of the human race. From robots in operating rooms to artificial intelligence (AI) in drug discovery; virtual reality in education to cutting edge quantum computing, these bear testament to the positive impact of AI & robotics on our daily lives. While technology is most easily accessed by the privileged segments of the population, those living in poverty pose an unexplored opportunity. Today, 7 billion people live with less than USD1 .90 per day; and 3.35 billion with less than USD 5 .50 per day. Shouldn’t more energy be spent on understanding and addressing those living at the bottom of the pyramid? The speaker will share insights to poverty as an engineer in the name of a relief worker. He will share his experience implementing humanitarian technology to the less privileged. The synergistic relationship between “humanitarian technology” and “inclusive entrepreneurship” using urban and rural examples will also be discussed.

Speaker bio: Dr. Ko is a humanitarian engineer interested in designing affordable technologies for improving lives in the base of the pyramid. He was the first engineer from Hong Kong to join Medecins Sans Frontiers’ in 2000. He has served in South Sudan during the civil war, Uzbekistan during 911 crisis, and three earthquake-induced missions in Asia, including Indonesia Tsunami in 2004. Dr. Ko is also the co-founder of INSIGHT Robotics, a technology startup specialised in detecting rural forest fires. The company was named Global Entrepreneur of the Year in 2014 by IBM for its cutting-edge technology and social contributions. Dr. Ko is now programme director for the Master of Arts in Social Entrepreneurship and Innovation Management at Lingnan University, Hong Kong. He is also a visiting professor of Global Engineering Centre at University of Toronto and a Visiting Researcher of Darwin College.

This talk is part of the Darwin College Humanities and Social Sciences Seminars series.

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