Information Technologies for Sustainable Development-I

Introduction

  
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The sustainable development goals discussed in earlier episodes are ambitious. Because first, they are substantial in terms of the number of goals. There are 17 goals are included in SDG. Second, the scope of these goals is very vast. Third, they are well defined and measurable to evaluate the progress in their attainment through quantified indicators.

One of the effective ways to achieve the targets set for the individual goals is through the innovative use of existing and emerging technologies. Some of the emerging technologies will have a positive impact on sustainable development. These include

  1. Bioplastic, Bio-degradable plastic and Sustainable plastic: These are useful to protect us from climate change and prevent the degradation of natural resources (SDG 13).

  2. Renewable Energy Sources It includes Wind energy, Solar energy, and biofuels to provide clean and green energy (SDG 7).

  3. Electric Vehicles: These vehicles aim for effective fuel consumption and pollution-free driving (SDG 7 and SDG 13).

  4. Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning: They are useful for providing personalized medicine, outcomes-based public health and diagnosis for diseases like cancer, pneumonia and other similar diseases (SDG 3)

  5. Communication Technologies: For example, Mobile communication, Wireless communication, Smartphone, and the Internet. They are useful for the dissemination of knowledge between doctors, patients and caretakers (SDG 3)

  6. 3D Printing: Lowers the cost of personalized medicine and organ transplant (SDG 3)

  7. Genetic Technology: Facilitates precision medicine (SDG 3)

  8. Digital Financial Technologies like Cryptocurrencies and Blockchain Supports micro-payments, create a trustworthy environment for business transactions.(SDG 8 SDG 17)

These technologies can help combat climate change, degradation of natural resources, achieve good health and well being, speed up economic growth and promote all-inclusive and equitable social development.

Data and information are one of the common threads across all these technologies listed above. It has been anticipated that in the coming decade data will drive sustainable development. Simultaneously, data-driven development is continuously raising many issues, such as security of information, privacy, and ethical concerns.

Information and communication technologies are varied and complex. They are varied in terms of multiple technologies exist such as blockchain technology, cloud computing, fog computing, internet of things, mobile computing, social network analysis, and the web are a few examples. They are also complex because they support various computation and data processing methods such as client-server, peer-to-peer and multiple data analysis models. This set of technologies broadly form the backbone of the emerging concepts of cyber-physical-social systems.

In the following episodes, we discuss and evaluate some of the existing and emerging technologies. While describing so, our objective is to trace back the stages in the evolution of these technologies, describe their primary elements, and how these technologies have brought numerous benefits to their users. A development engineer can select one of these technologies to provide a solution to a societal problem.