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Digital technologies that can help attain SDGs

This step provides an overview of the digital technologies that can help attain SDGs and how, through real-world examples.
Humanitarian aid pilot on iPad in helicopter

Digital technologies explained

Before you begin reading about what digital technologies are, conduct the reflection exercise on how digital technologies have changed your life in the past five years. Imagine living through the pandemic without digital technologies. What would that have been like?

Digital revolution

The period of growth in digital technologies and their use has gathered pace from the late 1950s and 1960s when the first computer systems started to process data in government and business, to today where the rate appears to be ever increasing. The growth in the use of digital technologies, often replacing mechanical and analogue technology, has been called the “digital revolution” due to the extent they have transformed many work environments, how we communicate, and how we entertain ourselves. To you and I living in this period, it might seem more like a digital evolution rather than a revolution but in two hundred years from now people will refer to this period as the time when digital technology use grew rapidly and changed society.

Digital technologies and social benefits

Digital technologies not only deliver economic benefits for organisations, but they can also provide many forms of social benefit for organisations and individuals. For example, routine processes can be automated by software systems to reduce boring and repetitive work activities. The increased productivity that often results from the use of digital technologies in organisations can lead to increased profits, more job opportunities, and higher wages, thereby potentially reducing poverty and hunger in developing countries. Digital technologies can provide improved access to health services through telehealth systems and health related websites and access to education can be improved through on-line e-learning systems. People can interact with local government more easily via government portals and in some countries can register their vote in elections online. Social media tools enable people to maintain social groups and networks and generally feel socially connected.

Greater effort needs to be made in the coming years to reduce problematic aspects associated with using digital technologies such as e-fraud, hacking, online bullying, or the stress that is felt by many and caused by feeling the need to always be available online to answer work-related requests. This last point is a reminder that digital technology in isolation is neither good nor bad but that its transformation’ssl value lies in the vision we have for it.

Now it’s your turn

What do you think will come next? What do you expect to be the big digital technology game changers of the next few years? How could it be harnessed by businesses to advance social impact? Share your thoughts in the comments.

© RMIT 2023
This article is from the free online

Advancing Social Impact with Digital Technologies

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