Why America’s Tech Industry has the Responsibility of Solving Global Development Challenges

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Forbes contributor Gary Shapiro wrote an article expressing his insistence on America’s greatness as a nation, despite its flaws in response to a clip from the HBO series, The Newsroom. Titled the “most honest three and a half minutes of television ever”, the short clip delivers a harsh soliloquy on America’s decline. Aside from addressing the inaccurate statistics, Shapiro brought up multiple premises for his argument – one of them being the high numbers of immigrants that the United States attracts for its quality education.

Government officials of China strive to send their children to US schools, with 160,000 of their youth enrolled in American colleges or universities as a result of the “culture of innovation that we imbue”. This is self-explanatory even to those who have never stepped foot in the country— with Silicon Valley, Wall Street, Hollywood, and 17 of the world’s top 20 universities, Shapiro argues that the United States is a world leader in every aspect. Like it or not, the country is the most dominant in the key categories of power, even if there is denial by American citizens themselves – a testament to their righteousness. The economic, military and influential strength of the United States is unmatched by any other country in the world. At USD $16 trillion, its GDP is more than twice the size of China’s. Spending 560 billion dollars a year on military, the country has the most powerful military in the world and maintains good diplomatic and trading relations with almost every major nation.

No other country has the same authority in the international community and global footprint as the United States. I hold a strong belief in the importance of global cultural diversity that can be attributed largely to my years of study in the United States. With much of the world under the influence of Western society, few other places would have granted me the same educational and cultural background to appreciate diversity.

The United States’ influence can be attributed to two driving forces: vast natural resources that created opportunities for individual initiative and enterprise, and the country’s investment in science, engineering, aerospace, and technology as a result of competition with the Soviet Union. Both public and private sector investment contributed to employment, industrial growth, and innovation that placed it as a world leader in many different fields. In terms of domestic goals, the country is unrivalled. In the later years, plenty of their efforts had been directed towards people of other nations striving to fight for their liberties and democratic freedoms against the assault of power by those who would have chosen to forsake democracy in pursuit of forced dominance in the world.

The dynamism of America’s tech industry backed by its deep involvement with research and development and STEM will be key to a sustainable future. In the next two decades, the human population is expected to rise by 2 billion, with 95 percent of them in developing or underdeveloped countries. This growth will create unprecedented demands for basic needs of for water, sanitation, nutrition, health, safety and meaningful work. As globalization takes hold, a paradigm shift must occur which sees the world as a single unit rather than separate nations. Currently, countless American tech giants concentrate almost exclusively on developed markets – with a large focus on advertising and pay-per-click campaigns (PPC) to drive profit from mostly Western regions. Although these are the fundamentals of any business, Americans must work towards a new goal of contributing to the building of a more sustainable, stable and equitable world. These people will hold a critical position in fulfilling the basic needs of the global community and addressing more complex problems in regards to refugees, displaced populations, and the large-scale movement of populations worldwide resulting from political conflicts, famine, shortages of land, and natural hazards. These issues call for American education in science, engineering, and technology to solve the problems of developing countries. An example would be the Engineering for Developing Communities (EDC) founded by The College of Engineering at the University of Colorado. The program has an overall mission to globally educate students in providing sustainable, appropriate technology solutions to the endemic problems of developing communities worldwide. Such collective efforts will ultimately determine the well-being of future generations to come.

Tags: International Development, Engineering for Developing CommunitiesGlobalization

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