5 Ways Our Newest Tech Is Helping Improve The World

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Technology is an inevitable part of 21st century and a highly divisive topic. It is also a really broad topic, encompassing a dizzying amount of innovation, all working in varying ways and attempting to solve different problems.

I think that technology, used in the right way, can be the key to a brighter future, and here is a collection of the coolest and most altruistic ways our most exciting technology is being used!

AI – Increasing the effectiveness of healthcare

Artificial Intelligence is rightly something that needs to be taken very seriously. Making machines smart used to just be the realm of the wildest science fiction, but now, more and more companies and institutions are using AI to make smarter and quicker decisions. Regardless of your opinion on how AI should be regulated, it’s making big waves in all industries and the most exciting is in healthcare.

AI has been shown to be able to determine patient symptoms and save nurses 20% of their time through eliminating unnecessary appointments and procedures. This time is now spent more effectively, helping patients with more pressing issues.

Also AI aimed at improving workflow effectiveness when healthcare professionals are actually seeing patients is saving even more time. Services like talk-to-text transcription is saving a whopping 51% of work time for nurses.

The more time we can give nurses and doctors to do their jobs and not spend valuable time on administrative procedures the better for everyone, and time saving AI technology could be the key to accelerating that process.

See more here.

Drones – Search and rescue missions

Naturally, search and rescue missions require urgency and speed. The quicker you can reach an injured or missing person, the less chance there is of severe injury or death. However, people-focused missions often have to halt due to factors like searcher fatigue, lack of light or too few people to search a large area.

Enter drones.

By eliminating fatigue, need for light and the ability to search wide areas quickly, drones are revolutionising rescue efforts. They’re also used in a series of unique ways, with a drone saving a mother and her daughter in Texas who had been swept away in a river, by dropping them a life jacket, which human rescuers were unable to get to the people in need.

See more here.

VR – Treating mental health issues

With one in four people experiencing some form of mental health problems in our life, knowing how to treat and prevent mental health issues is a priority for everyone, with wide ranging impacts on all aspects of society.

It’s proving a difficult task, however, to provide adequate and fast treatment to those who need it, and this is where virtual reality is lending professionals a helping hand.

Virtual reality enables us to create virtual environments for patients to interact and explore at their own will, and with the ability to remove themselves from situations in the blink of an eye if needs be. Similarly to the AI points earlier, VR also takes some of the load away from mental health care professionals, allowing them to focus their time and resources towards situations where VR may not be applicable.

A key standout in a study by Oxford VR was the use of a simulated environment to treat a fear of heights, reducing fear in 70% of patients. Again, think of the time and man hours that would have to go into producing this result without a simulated environment and it becomes clear the wide reaching impacts VR can have on the treatment of mental health issues.

See more here.

3D Printers – Making quicker and more accurate prosthetics

Prior to the invention of 3D printing, creating a prosthetic for someone who had lost a limb could be a long, arduous and uncomfortable process.

However, now with 3D printing technology, custom made prosthetics specifically moulded for the patient in question are making massive changes to this area of medical science.

The first major benefit of this method of creating prosthetics is that its cheaper. Usually a prosthetic costs thousands of pounds, but with 3D printing it can cost as little as £50. In times of economic trouble it is imperative to make healthcare cheap and available to all, and being able to reduce costs like this is invaluable.

The other reason this method of creating prosthetics shows real promise is that it makes it quick to make customised prosthetics to the user. Prosthetics are a highly personal thing that need to slightly differ for each wearer, and the use of super accurate 3D printing allows this process to be quicker, simpler and cheaper.

See more here.

Driverless Cars - Reducing greenhouse gas emissions

Whilst driverless cars are slated to reduce traffic accidents and increase user safety, one of the less talked about factors that will be changed by the advent of driverless cars is reduced carbon emissions.

The first way that driverless vehicles will reduce our carbon emissions is by connecting to things like traffic lights and highways, enabling vehicles to plan incredibly efficient routes which use much less fuel. This is something that is next to impossible for human driven cars to accomplish.

The second way that driverless vehicles are going to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is by enabling a feature called “platooning” which effectively means that driverless vehicles will be connected to each other as they are with road infrastructure, and will use this connection to accelerate and brake at the same time, which, much like cyclists drafting behind each other, will reduce wind resistance and conserve fuel.

See more here.

Technology can be scary because it is new, but for all the scaremongering and fearful descriptions of a harrowing dystopia, there are still incredibly bright and hardworking people out there using humanity’s greatest tools for good, and trying to make our planet a better place for us all.

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