Hyderabad: International Institute of Information Technology Hyderabad (IIITH) hosted an 'Annual Conference on Technology & Society to promote greater understanding and utilization of the latest emerging technologies, as well as foster widespread adoption and innovation especially for those at the bottom of the pyramid.
Social scientists, NGOs, technologists, research groups, innovators, policy makers, impact funders and CSR organizations deliberated on how emerging technologies can assist and enable rural education and healthcare.
Keynote speakers included Prof Raj Reddy, Chairman, GC, IIITH, G V Prasad, Co-Chairman, Dr Reddy’s Laboratories Ltd and Dr K Srikanth Reddy, President, PHFI.
The conference included plenary panel discussions themed on AI and Society, with special focus on how AI can enable social outcomes with Viiveck Varma, Former Advisor-Social Innovation, Telangana, Dr Ganesh Natarajan, Founder & Chairman, 5F World, Vivek Raghavan, Chief AI Evangelist, EkStep and Dr CS Murthy, Group Director, ISRO. They were positive that the convergence of many on-ground low-cost technologies and combined with AI is helping bring about a positive impact in up skilling and employability of the youth as well as in the agriculture value chain.
Another session on Healthcare at the BoP, specifically discussed how healthcare can be taken effectively to rural doorsteps with a panel consisting of Ramji Raghavan, Founder, Agastya Foundation, Manoj Gopalakrishnan, CEO, Care India, Meera Shenoy, Founder, Youth4Jobs & Amirullah Khan, CDPP & formerly with UNDP. They emphasised cause-effect thinking to get to the base of grassroot problems and solutions, and why it’s important to acknowledge the interlink between education and livelihood.
Closed door roundtable discussions among social tech leaders, change makers and industry experts deliberated on how CSR can fund social change, andhow collaborations can amplify tech-led impact. It also included a startup showcase highlighting the successes of startups that have used tech for social impact.
The first edition of the conference coincided with the formal inauguration of IIITH’s Raj Reddy Center for Technology and Society (RCTS) to celebrate and amplify Prof Raj Reddy’s passion toward research that helps the bottom of the pyramid. Through technology-based solutions in the realm of rural education and healthcare, as well as working directly with NGOs and grassroots organizations to build AI and emerging tech solutions for the NGOs RCTS aims to amplify their impact. Several projects are already underway with few leading NGOs.
Explaining the inspiration behind the Center, Prof P J Narayanan, Director IIITH said, “Prof Raj Reddy has been our guiding force right from the inception of the institute. What sets him apart is his deep concern for society and his belief that technology can help solve many of its problems. Through this Centre we wanted to create an entity that focuses on these issues and uses technology to find solutions and impact”.
Speaking at the event, Prof Raj Reddy said, “Technology and society has been a key theme in my life for a long time. Through this new Center I hope that we can use technology to find solutions in healthcare, education etc. for those at the bottom of the pyramid. Solutions that are scalable and accessible to everyone, as well as sustainable to see long term impact”.
Commending IIITH on the inauguration of the Center, Shri K T Rama Rao,Honourable Minister for IT E&C, MA&UD and Industries & Commerce, Govt of Telangana said, “I am delighted that IIITH has set up the Raj Reddy Center for Technology and Society to leverage technology for social impact. My congratulations to the entire team at IIITH”.
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