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Human Development Report 2001

Making New Technologies Work for Human Development

image of Human Development Report 2001
New technologies hold the promise of tackling the most pressing needs of human development: vaccines for HIV and malaria, drought-resistant seeds for sub-Saharan Africa, sustainable energy sources for the 2 billion people who have no access to electricity and accessible information technologies for people currently marginalized by the digital divide. The Human Development Report 2001 explores the evolving and complex trends of how technology is shaped, created and owned and proposes bold new ideas for ensuring that the needs of the world's poor people are not left on the sidelines.

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Managing the risks of technological change

Every technological advance brings potential benefits and risks, some of which are not easy to predict. The benefits of technologies can be far greater than what their creators foresaw. When Guglielmo Marconi invented the radio in 1895, he intended it for two-way private communication, not for broadcasting. Today the transistor is heralded as one of the most significant inventions ever—but on its invention in 1947 foreseers could think of few uses beyond developing better hearing aids for deaf people. In the 1940s IBM thought that the market for computers would never amount to more than a few unit sales a year.

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