Education, health, crime and citizenship are four areas, Satyarthi says, where young entrepreneurs can make strong interventions.

Use tech to solve social problems Nobel laureate Kailash Satyarthi tells entrepreneursImage source: Wilson Dias/Agência Brasil
Atom Startups Monday, November 27, 2017 - 12:09

“India needs you. The world needs you, your innovation, and information technology. Modern science can transform lives and livelihoods forever,” Nobel laureate Kailash Satyarthi said as he addressed a crowd of aspiring entrepreneurs and startups at the Road to GES event in Hyderabad on Sunday.

Artificial intelligence and robotics, he said, can bring about sustainable change in the world, adding that while the world is making so much progress, we live in a world where millions of children can’t go to school.

He urged entrepreneurs to find technological solutions to social problems and combine them with businesses. He stressed on four major areas where youngsters, entrepreneurs and information technology can make strong interventions.

Education

“Sixty million kids have never seen a school gate in their lives while another 200 million are forced to leave school before completing secondary education. Moreover, India needs one million teachers only in primary school. There is a serious gap of teachers. How can we think of quality education for a child if we don’t have adequate teachers?” Kailash Satyarthi questioned.

He urged entrepreneurs to think of how some of the fundamental values taught by teachers to young children can be clubbed with knowledge. He asked entrepreneurs to work on how the digital world can help in democratisation of knowledge, which is not just imparting knowledge but looking at how it can be built from the bottom and used by everyone, everywhere.

According to a World Bank and UNESCO report, if a developing country can ensure education to all children for a year, it will help increase the GDP of the country by 0.37% and if every child receives primary and secondary education for 10 years, it could help in enhance the GDP by an additional 4%.

Health

Innovation is required in health, Kailash Satyarthi said. “Unfortunately, health and education have become so expensive that they are a commodity for only those who can afford it though they are supposed to be fundamental human rights,” he adds.

The challenge, according to him, is how you can help to make education along with health, a right for those who need it. That needs innovation.

Crime

“Two children are raped every hour. One child goes missing every six minutes, which is 9-10 kids every hour as per the National Crime Records (NCR) bureau information. They don’t disappear into thin air. They could be sold and bought for a price lesser than that of cattle,” Kailash Satyarthi said.

He asks entrepreneurs to see how technology, be it facial recognition, biometrics or even simple measures of having cameras on routes where children are in transit, can help in averting crime against children. AI can also help in stopping the menace of child sexual abuse, he said. 

Citizenship

There is intolerance, impatience and violence growing among children. Kailash Satyarthi says that we need to give them better purpose in life.

He asked entrepreneurs to create platforms using technology where one can build a sense of global citizenship - tolerance, mutual respect, plurality, sense of respect towards each other and everyone. “That citizenship is needed. And you can work much faster easily than anyone else,” he added.

“Things are possible,” he said, taking the example of how as an engineer, he did work on child labour and created a platform for voluntary labelling, monitoring and certification of rugs manufactured without the use of child labour in South Asia. This helped in bringing down the number of child labourers from a million to 200,000.

“So, find solutions using your skills, your innovation and your technology for social good. That is my appeal and call to you. You can help in changing lives of billions of children around the world in getting rid of poverty, illiteracy, slavery, child trafficking and all kinds of suffering they are undergoing,” he said.

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