Using Technology to Make the World a Better Place

by | May 6, 2015

On Collision’s stage, “Tech for Good” was introduced as the concept of using existing technology, and driving future technology, for the purpose of improving lives.

Ask Bryan Johnson, Founder of OS Fund, what comes to mind when someone brings up Tech For Good, and he’ll give you three great answers:

  1. It should help humanity live in harmony with one another, be unifying towards a greater good.
  2. It should absolutely do no harm.
  3. And the best way for tech to do good things, is for it to be good, solid tech.

Take Charity:Water. Scott Harrison, CEO, is excited about their venture into technologically advanced sensors to further their vision of providing clean water to everyone. Charity: Water has 16,000 wells in 24 countries. When they are all working correctly, there are 5.2 million people drinking clean water that they didn’t have access to it before.

With the sensors being developed, Charity:Water will have a way to monitor the activity of the wells – and then their goal is to train local engineers and teams to react on that data to make sure the wells are always running effectively. But tech isn’t just a part of the future good – it is already a part of how they are making such a huge impact.

In addition to their 100% model (all public contributions go straight to the relief efforts), Charity:Water connects their donors to the work being done, using technology like Google Maps, GPS, and funding drilling rigs that tweet their location. This provides donors with motivation, a sense of teamwork and activism against a social problem that “everyone can stand for: children drinking clean water.” They also raise money online, using technology to reach out more efficiently than flyers in the mail.

Johnson, through OS Fund, contributes to efforts of companies like Charity:Water by providing funding for technologies that would radically change the human species for the better, trying to find breakthrough tech that could improve the lives of billions of people. As he puts it, “We see the potential of the world we can build, and we want entrepreneurs to have the tools to get us there.”

AI, biology, health and medicine, and energy were all mentioned as categories where they are looking to invest, because they are all underlying areas of society where improvements could profoundly impact lives for the better.

Which area would you seek to improve in your community, or a region that you are interested in? What kind of technological development could you imagine for improving the lives of people there? Johnson points out that for the first time in history, “we can literally build what we can imagine” to make the world a better place – and he’s willing to provide the funds to make that happen.