The Turing Talks took place at the National Museum of Scotland last month. The inaugural event aimed to inspire all who want to make a positive difference in the world. A day packed with disruptive insight challenged attendees to think differently.
When we hear of Alan Turing, we’re used to seeing his story depicted in news, documentaries and blockbuster films. And although the event kicked off with a gripping portrayal of Turing in 2015’s Imitation Game – the day was very much focused on the future. Specifically, the future of the developing world.
BCM wanted to work with the Turing Trust because their mission is certainly one which resonates. Making the world a fairer place through efficient and sustainable projects is innovative in itself. And to know that getting involved would make a difference too – we were all for it. Consequently, the opportunity evolved into a partnership for the first Turing Talks – helping raise awareness on the impact of technology in the developing world. The proceeds from the event will also support the Trust’s digital projects in Africa.
Talks from the perspectives of corporates, start-ups and charities all followed the same thread – technology supports a better quality of life. A sentiment which will only become more apparent as the world continues to connect. Connecting rural communities through technology will bridge the gap between the developed world. Better and sustainable access to education and healthcare will improve the lives of those currently falling behind.
Making A Difference
Realising that sentiment and making steps to bridge the gap only seems right.
- BBOXX are a start-up supplying the same volume of electricity in Rwanda as the National Grid – bringing light and heat to rural communities.
- Microsoft are providing 4G strength connections across parts of rural Africa – allowing families to access education and stay connected with distant communities.
- IBM hold a research lab in Africa investigating the prevention of killer diseases like tuberculosis through the use of sensors.
Another innovative solution to bridging the gap is the SolarBerry. Providing solar powered self-sustaining environments for people to educate, connect and measure improvement. Find out more about the SolarBerry here.
The idea has been mirrored by the likes of Microsoft . These projects provide the means to not only develop computer skills but learn other subjects like English, Maths and Sciences. And achieve it in a way that can last. The Turing Trust aim to feed funds from the conference into supporting education in Africa and their SolarBerry so that they can continue to scale this idea.
Technology is the key to developing formidable communities in today’s climate so cannot be so one-sided. Measuring the effectiveness of education with technology are what the likes of OneBillion and Mwabu are doing. Their e-learning software is aimed specifically at the African market. The software allows teachers to structure better curriculum’s giving children the opportunity to learn at their own pace.
More than just the developing world
In the end, the event raised more than the impact of technology in just Africa. The work of UNICEF brought to light the impact on crisis zones and refugee camps also. Which proves disruptive technology is found in even the most unexpected of places.
It could be said that true technological innovation can be seen in the Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan. Where it’s developed an economy, water supply, waste management, energy, and education system all thanks to technology. Accounting for around a third of its population, refugees have created a City greater than the size of Portland, Maine within 5 years. Zaatari to the eye may bare little to no resemblance to Citys around the globe but the growth of its infrastructure has been rapid. Today it boasts 9 schools, 27 community centers, 2 hospitals, as well as a whole range of shops and businesses.
The Jordan site has developed an innovative network which keeps it moving. Smart devices on water wastage tanks intelligently detect waste levels and when it should be collected. Waste disposal trucks can also calculate the most efficient route around the streets. Even hackathons are hosted within Zaatari showing that the technology industry itself wants to bridge the education inequality.
Technology is the crucial factor in bridging the any gap between the developed and developing world. The challenge is to continue supporting innovative projects in the places that need them most. Only this way, can we really make a difference.
Finally, I would like to congratulate the Turing Trust on the great success of their first Turing Talks. The event was something everybody involved can be proud of. Everyone here at Border Crossing is looking forward to seeing what’s in store for next year!
Find all the speakers below:
Roland Bone – Vice President at Barclays
Matthew Gardiner – NGO Engagement Lead at Techfugees
Christopher Baker-Brian – Co-founder and CTO at BBOXX
James Turing – Founder & Director at Turing Trust
Dr Geoffrey Siwo – Research and Scientist at IBM
Eva Kaplan – Innovation Specialist at UNICEF Jordan
Dr Alasdair Allan – Scottish Minister for International Development and Europe
Judith Hermetter – Head of Communications at OneBillion
Charlotte Scott – International Advisory Board, Mwabu
Steve Clayton – Cheif Storyteller at Microsoft
Haley Sudbury – CEO & Founder at Werkin