Response to Readings – Week 3

Doing Good is Good Business / Week 3 / Data Science and Research

Designing Field Trial Protocols in Ethiopia for Pneumonia Diagnostic Devices

The reading was informative to give me a general sense of what UNICEF has planned to do for tackling pneumonia deaths in Ethiopia (and other countries). The idea of ‘timely and accurate diagnosis being critical to preventing pneumonia deaths’ was insightful. The reading does provide an overview on what UNICEF plans to do, however, I could gain no sense of how they are going to do it. I visited their website and gained an understanding of the devices and protocols surrounding ARIDA. There are some questions that I have:
1. Diagnosis is the first step, true. But are all families aware about the condition of pneumonia? Is this knowledge commonplace? If not, is UNICEF taking any measures to advertise the hazards of pneumonia and informing them about the associated symptoms?
2. My understanding is that the diagnosis, advice and care provided by community healthcare workers is free. Is it? Do they also equip families with the necessary information about the contagious nature of the condition, the kind of care that should be provided after recovery et cetera?

The Economics of Drone Delivery

The reading raises many interesting points regarding the complications involved with drone deliveries, backed by quotes and data. The comparison between drone deliveries in a consumerist setting versus drone deliveries in an underserved remote setting was intriguing. While, I think that investments should be made towards drone deliveries in places inaccessible regions for medical purposes or emergency use cases, the world is also seeing drones being used to exercise control in a region (also taking lives in the process – link ). So, it’s tricky to acknowledge that legitimizing drones would only be beneficial, and not harmful.

In terms of the big corporates targeting drone deliveries, I believe that the drones will indeed see the daylight soon. Such companies put a lot of study to figure out the economics associated with such undertakings, and I don’t think economics is something that they’re worried about. The only thing obstructing them would be to reach negotiations and formulation of regulations with the Government and other involved parties.

Aerial Assessments After Sandy

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What is Driving Uber’s Global Impact?

Uber’s impact across the world is undeniable. My personal experiences from India resonate what the article emphasizes i.e. how Uber is changing the way transportation was once construed. Back in India, auto-rickshaws or taxis were two popular modes of transportation. Singular companies/organizations which were running these services across cities had monopolized the business, with bad infrastructure, no reliability and a steady unaccounted increase in their pricing each year. There was mistreatment of the customer, hooliganism and also cases of sexual harassment towards women. People were gradually forfeiting the idea of resorting to these modes of transportation and were striving to put together enough money to be able to buy a vehicle of their own. Uber changed the game. Not only did they provide a dependable means of transportation, they also provided vehicles in good condition and at much lower prices. More than the economic impact, the cultural impact of the company amazes me.

The article gives a nice outlook into how Uber has been making waves across the globe, and also raises a few questions that I ask myself. Data collection is central to the way Uber works. The question is, how are they going to leverage this data to solve bigger issues such as pollution and road congestion? (UberPool is there of course, and as Chris mentioned they are also putting in a lot of research towards flying cars which is befuddling!). So far, Uber has been a private initiative wherever it has operated. How can the company work with the Government to address issues in the public sector and issues being faced by the poor, rather than only catering to those with smart phones in their pockets?

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