Is Hi-Tech Only for Rich Countries?


Speaker: Halla Thorsteinsdóttir

Summary

Modern technology has contributed immensely to higher incomes and longer lives in rich countries and almost all work in these countries relies heavily on the use of high tech. Low-and-middle income countries lag far behind high-income countries in harnessing technological opportunities but want to emulate rich countries and use technologies to increase their income and enhance quality of life. Many attempts to inject high tech in these countries have, however, had disappointing results. This has led some to argue that low-income countries do not need high tech but rather clean water and better access to existing traditional technologies. In this lecture I plan to consider if and how high tech can be harnessed in low-income countries to the benefit of their populations, and tell stories gleaned from examining technologies in these countries spanning a career of 35 years.

Dr. Halla Thorsteinsdóttir

Dr. Halla Thorsteinsdóttir, originally from Iceland, is the Director of Small Globe Inc. and an Adjunct Professor at the University of Toronto, Canada and at Cinvestav, Mexico. She has actively researched innovation and international cooperation in low- and middle-income countries. Her research has been published in high-impact journals such as the Nature journals, Science, Research Policy, and The Lancet, and has been covered by news media such as the Economist and the Financial Times. Halla has advised a number of organisations including the United Nations Development Programme, the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, the United Nations Technology Bank for the Least Developed Countries, the World Health Organization, the International Development Research Centre, and South Africa’s Technology Innovation Agency on innovation and partnership issues


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