While technological progress is ongoing, it is critical for us as a society to ensure no one gets left behind and the opportunities truly are available and accessible to all.
The impact and inclusiveness of technology have been widely celebrated over the course of the coronavirus pandemic. While technology has helped in bridging the divide, creating boundaries and opportunities for people across the board, there is also the matter to ensure no one is left behind in the digital era. Digital literacy will be instrumental in ensuring that the accessibility created by technology benefits the mass. Therefore, the manner in which technology, apps and businesses spread information online is crucial to its overall adoption. Alongside, acknowledging the limits it has and preventing over dependency.
Technological Progress And Opportunities
Online platforms, social media, apps have created new avenues to create awareness and free flow of information. Amrita Gaddam, Founder & CEO, The Tribe Concepts, comments on how crucial technology was for the success of the organic brand, “There are Indian ingredients that people do not know about. We wanted to bring this to the world and the credit for it goes to technology. Up until last month, we were a 100 per cent online store, technology really helped get our message and product out into the market.”Information technology has allowed consumers to look beyond the big brands and build trust in start-ups, a critical contribution to the entrepreneurship space.
Free-flowing information allows people to pick and choose the content they want to consume and can influence critical decisions. Ujjwal Jain, Founder & CEO, WealthDesk explains, “Aadhar has made banking more accessible. India is realising that savings need to go into financial assets for long term wealth creation, an idea that has now become mainstream.” Elaborating on this he adds, “We have more crypto investors right now than equity investors. Equity should go mainstream before crypto goes mainstream.” While people are becoming more conscious of personal wealth creation, Jain’s comments certainly show that the hype around cryptocurrency has strongly influenced financial decision making in India.
Fintech penetration may not be as strong or widely adopted equally across the country. Ram Shriram, Founder & CEO, Mahagram, states, “Technology has not solved the problem for rural India yet, where smartphones are largely in the hand of teens, while the decision-makers in the region are seniors who are still using feature phones. People are intimidated by filling out long forms and do not understand the terminology, some have trouble signing the documents needed to open a bank account.” This is the digital divide that needs to be addressed to ensure no one gets left behind in the digital era.
Rashi Gupta, Chief Data Scientist & Co-Founder, Rezo.ai, working in deep tech adds, “There are serial grievances which AI cannot be used for, but we can balance that. Take away some of the tasks that can be tedious for human agents, while also keeping the option to speak to a customer agent for specific queries on the consumer end.” There is a balancing act between technology solutions and human interaction in every business. Pranav Saxena, Co-Founder, The WorldGrad, expands on the need for establishing a balance, “Education and technology have intersected in a manner, unseen in the past. At the same time, you have to realise where the limit [of technology] lies. While it is democratising access to education, technology cannot remove the element of human connection between a student and their teacher.”
The biggest challenge with new technology would always be adoption. There is a fear of the unknown and a fear of change, which makes big disruptions difficult to implement, even with ventures that are necessary for large scale positive change. Pulkit Khurana, Co-Founder, Battery Smart, states, “There are a lot of challenges surrounding EV adoption, there is a question of charging points, range, charging downtime, costs, etc.” Despite being strongly supported as a concept, people are still hesitant to switch over to electronic vehicles.
Gaurav Khatri, Co-Founder, Noise maintains a positive outlook on technological progress and the emergence of tech companies. He states that while “Tapping into the right audience and meeting their demand is key. The future is bright for all of us, the way the government is changing its policies to making it more comfortable for businesses to get in.”
There is no binary answer to the influence of technology. Technology serves a purpose and in the hand of entrepreneurs who are looking to create unique solutions for the diverse obstacles people across the country face, it is only a matter of time before technology catches up with the needs of all.
Source: Business World