Technology and Responsibility
Technology, Stewardship & Spider-Man
By Josh Cross, Founder of GoPlug Bags
In the 2002 blockbuster movie Spider-Man, Peter Parker gained a unique gift after being bit by a radioactive spider. At first, Peter was confused about the transformation he was going through and faced many challenges on his path of self-discovery. The turning point for Peter came after his uncle profoundly stated, “You’ve been given a great gift, Peter. With great power comes a great responsibility.” After Peter learned to appreciate and harness his newfound abilities, he fulfilled important responsibilities in his community and helped to create a better and safer world around him.
We don’t need to be superheroes in order to find responsibility in our life and community. Like Peter, we have a responsibility to understand who we are and how to harness our potential responsibly. Whether it be in business, home, school, or life, we can make the communities we live in, and the world in general, a better place.
When starting GoPlug a little over two years ago, we set out to to fill a void in the travel industry by creating the most innovative and technologically advanced power bank for on-the-go professionals. More importantly, however, we knew the product could serve a greater purpose by providing low wattage power for the nearly 1.3 billion underprivileged people in the world living without electricity. Because GoPlug combines technology and power, we planned for future responsible ways these innovations could be used. We hope to benefit communities, empower people, and perhaps, in some way, change the world we live in.
WITH GREAT POWER COMES GREAT RESPONSIBILITY
Statistics show that access to electricity has a positive impact on a wide range of factors influencing people in rural communities. These include improved health, access to communication and information, better educational facilities, economic prosperity, and increased standard of living.
So why are so many people living without power?
Local dynamics in a given community contribute to the lack of power, such as the type of settlement, population density, ability to pay for available energy resources, proximity to the national grid, and the degree of social inclusion one seeks to obtain. Each of these issues requires careful and innovative approaches.
Grid: Many of the un-electrified regions of the world are remote and inaccessible. Additionally, grid systems are invasive and not a preferred method of providing electricity.
Scale: Globally, there has been no universal approach to provisional access to electricity in marginalized areas. Scalable low-cost powering solutions for ALL off-grid communities worldwide, regardless of geographic location, have not been considered.
Cost: According to the International Energy Agency, sub-Saharan Africa will require more than $300 billion in investment to achieve universal electricity access by 2030.
In some of the most remote villages, among the poorest and marginalized groups of people, encouraging steps have been taken to provide elementary rural electricity. This is not to suggest we have the only solution to this problem of epidemic proportions; however, we believe our power supply can provide children access to education and information and power for mobile hospitals/clinics that would otherwise be nonexistent.
TECHNOLOGY AND RESPONSIBILITY
Just as important as power to marginalized regions of the world is the technology embedded in each power bank. Our suite of personal power supplies is equipped with GPS trackers, movement alarms, geo-fencing, alert notifications, and other sensors and innovations. Although some may say this technology is overkill, here are reasons we believe it’s responsible:
Luggage and other valuable items can be tracked in more than 150 countries. This is especially helpful when traveling and monitoring that luggage. According to the airline information technology company SIFA, 21.6 million bags were mishandled (lost or temporarily mislaid) in 2016. That’s a cost of $2.1 billion to the airline industry and an enormous cost to travelers.
Travel Insurance Review states that nearly 14,000 travelers each year report items missing from their luggage, backpack, or purse. These figures still do not account for the true total of thefts, because the process of reporting these crimes is cumbersome and time-consuming and many travelers discover the theft much later in their trip. With the GoPlug power supply placed in wallets, bags, luggage, purse or other valuables, alert notifications will be sent to the user’s mobile phone the moment their device moves.
As amazing as these features are, the technology in GoPlug power banks is equally impressive. Soon, GoPlug will offer a coin-sized wearable device capable of tracking people, pets, and personal belongings. This micro device could also be used as a personal safety device that can be placed on a belt loop, backpack, or be worn as a pendant, watch, or necklace, and can be triggered in a threatening moment. Activating the device will send an alert notification to your contacts of your exact location.
As a father of four young children, the responsibility I carry to protect them far outweighs anything else in life. However, as a creator of technology that can protect millions of children worldwide, the responsibility is magnified. Here are a few staggering statistics about missing children in the United States and why we feel it’s our responsibility to help:
800,000 children are reported missing each year in the United States*
In 74% of the cases involving missing children, the victims were dead within three hours after abduction
In 80 percent of abductions by strangers, the first contact between the child and the abductor occurs within a quarter mile of the child's home
Whether you have children or not, we all have a responsibility to protect them.
Technology can play an important role in shaping the world. You don’t need to wait for a radioactive spider to bite you in order to make this world a better place. Being a responsible steward of technology will literally save lives and change the world into a better place.
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