Low tech doing good too

In a three-month podcast series, futurist Adah Parris has met activists from across the world to hear how they’re deploying tech as a force for good. The latest show in this series features a groundbreaking peer-to-peer farming network and an African healthcare information project.

ourlivesintechpicDriverless cars, blockchain, VR, data and Ai: technologies making a massive impact on the world. But how can we ensure this life-changing new tech is also used as a force for good?

That’s what Social Tech Trust (formerly Nominet Trust) has set out to explore over the past three months in its groundbreaking podcast series, Our lives + tech. Across an eight-part series, London-based futurist Adah Parris has spoken to innovators and social activists alike, and shared stories of people using tech to change the world for the better.

But it’s not just the cutting-edge tech that makes a difference. In the latest show in the series, Parris explores how seemingly low-tech innovations are helping to tackle big global challenges.

Wefarm founder and CEO Kenny Ewan explains how he’s built a groundbreaking peer-to-peer network for small-scale farmers across the world, helping them share knowledge using SMS text.

And Joanne Peter of Global Community Impact/Johnson & Johnson introduces Momconnect, a project in partnership with the South African department of health providing vital information to mothers.

Listen to ‘low-tech, high innovation’ now.

Other Our lives + tech podcasts

Transport reinvented
Lucy Yu from to explore the future of autonomous travel. She explains how the business – that has raised over $35m investment in a bid to become Europe’s leading provider of safe, shared, self-driving cars – aims to change the way we travel. Plus Keenan Wyrobek explains how his company Zipline is reinventing the courier network to deliver life-saving healthcare to some of the world’s hardest-to-reach areas, using drones.

The Bionic Person
Oliver Armitage from Cambridge Bio-Augmentation Systems (CBAS) discusses the cutting-edge tech being developed for amputees – from skeletal implants to advanced robotics. He explains why he’s on a mission to create an ‘open standard’ connection to the body, and what’s needed to help the industry advance faster. And James Young aka ‘Metal Gear Man’ explains how he is using his own body as a canvas for bionic research.

A party with purpose #NT100is5
A series of talks from Nominet Trust’s #NT100is5 celebration, marking five years of the NT100 campaign. People and projects using tech to effect meaningful social change include Kate Wolfenden from Project X, Bunmi Durowoju from Microsoft and ElsaMarie D’Silva of Safecity – who discuss routes of acceleration, learning from mistakes, and reaching new ground.

Transforming trust with blockchain
Cryptocurrency and the blockchain has a somewhat murky reputation, clouded in hype and fear of dodgy dealings – but looking past the negatives, could Bitcoin’s underlying technology be a new weapon for social impact? Raphaël Mazet talks about blockchain for social good, explaining how is harnessing the tech to build trust, transparency and impact into projects with partners such as St Mungo’s. And Niall Dennehy explains how AID:Tech is on a mission to bring digital identity to the underserved and underrepresented communities across the world.

Is virtual reality a fair reality?
Producer Catherine Allen, of Liminia Immersive, explores virtual and augmented reality, and the pros and cons of the emerging medium – plus strategies for building a diverse industry from the ground up. And Dom Raban talks about the Patient’s Virtual Guide, showcasing the positive potential of augmented reality as a powerful tool in healthcare.

Artificial intelligence or augmented intelligence?
Artificial intelligence is playing a growing part in our everyday lives – from customer service to healthcare, crime and beyond. But how can we ensure algorithms are fair and built with human purpose at the core? Sherif Elsayed-Ali, founder of Amnesty International’s ‘Tech and Human Rights’ programme, shares his thoughts, while Jen Hyatt talks about, a Nominet Trust-funded project using Ai to improve people’s lives through conversation.

Big data: why should we care?
Emma Prest, executive director of DataKind UK talks about the ethical principles of big data, including why you should care about the way your information is used, how data can be used for social good and why the industry needs to change its ethics. And peace activist Bjorn Ihler explains how a life-changing escape from a terror attack led him to join the fight against violent radicalism, through tech.