New technologies are transforming the world and how people live and work. Data analytics, robotics, and artificial intelligence are just a few examples of transformative technology that can positively impact RCRC capacity to address humanitarian and development need. Already, scientific and technological innovation is blurring the lines between the physical, digital, and biological spheres. Data, machine learning and other technological advancements can help forecast disasters and crises and provide stronger sources for analysis and insight on a range of issues. Technologies like blockchain are being tested as a means to provide digital identity to those that might have lost physical identification documents as they cross borders, and for their potential to
However, there are risks with emerging technologies, that the benefits will
Recognising that in a more globalised world citizens have complex needs that no longer fit traditional approaches and assumptions, and that the exponential growth in technology and consumption has led to a surge in experimentation, governments, corporations and start-ups alike are testing different approaches to programs and
Considerations and tension points for the Red Cross and Red Crescent
- How does the network invest in foresight and anticipation to ensure strategic focus within a fast-paced and rapidly changing world? At the same time, how can National Societies foster innovation, agility and the capacity for adaptation and opportunism in the face of new trends? Are there spaces in the organization for consistent experimentation, Research and Development, and innovation?
- Is the network recruiting the right skills and investing in the right competencies to capitalize on opportunities emerging from technological and digital advancement?
- Are we able to support National Societies to close the digital divide and take advantage of opportunities emerging in this sphere?
- How does the RCRC engage with non-traditional actors, start-ups and informal networks, and explore new models of partnership creatively to meet development goals?
- There is a tension that is emerging around the need for the network to invest more into emerging technology, and beyond just periphery innovation experiments, in order to drive changed decision making structures. There is, in addition, consistent reflection on what the role of the RCRC might be, and what value add we might bring to a highly connected, networked world, and how we might respond to the changing risk landscape as a result of this.
What are the possibilities?
Technological innovation is shaping the lives and habits of affected communities, and it will continue transforming the work of our National Societies. As the Internet of Things expands rapidly – with devices, buildings, vehicles and other inanimate objects collecting and sharing growing amounts of data about our needs and habits – this has powerful potential to help National Societies understand their end users, services and operating environments more clearly, driving insights into gaps and inefficiencies, and enabling more nuanced and efficient program and services delivery. Better communication tools, artificial intelligence and data could deliver reliable predictive analytics and enable forecast-based action,
Are there other elements to this trend that we should be considering?
How do you think it will affect vulnerability and the Red Cross and Red Crescent?
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