Growing up, I looked up to Dexter. Yes, the cartoon who was a mad scientist with amazing, innovative tech solutions. His combination of hardware and software (though they rarely showed this side of the invention) to come up with something totally new to beat his nemesis Mandark or some evil in his city really got to me and all I wanted was to be like him. I always knew that I was destined to be part of the tech world and be a contributor. Though getting a secret lab behind my closet like Dexter did is a bit too much, I would like to have a lab where I could play around with hardware and software trying to come up with solutions that would solve problems for our farmers, education sector, transportation sector and industries at large. I believe technology has the ability to change our lives for the better. Enough about me.
One of the biggest gaps we first need to bridge is tech equality. It is usually a sad thing when the latest iPhone or high end Samsung device is out and the only thing you can do is read its specs or watch a video of how many iPhones it takes to stop a speeding bullet (video). Without huge chunks of money, accessing such devices is impossible. It can be frustrating at times because the common mwananchi with an average salary cannot access the device without first saving for a few months first or taking a loan (which I personally think is a bad idea). Such kind of devices have been associated with a certain class/group of people which should not be the case. I guess it all boils down to privilege in some way. I believe that we should all enjoy the benefits of technology like being able to access internet which would create opportunity for many people especially our youth. If they knew what is possible and that they can make a difference in someone else’s life through technology, they would, without a doubt, take up various innovative projects.
Some of the sectors that technology would benefit the masses in our country are the agriculture and health sectors. We should not have to go to India to get medical treatment for diseases such as cancer or brain operations. We should be able to develop our own hospitals with machines developed locally to serve such purposes. I believe this is an undertaking that can be realized in the next 15 – 20 years with the proper groundwork being laid down and developers believing that we can pull it off. We need to establish Kenya as a hub for innovative technological advancements in all sectors. Both in software and hardware. With the coming age of things being connected to the web, data will be readily available for engineers to use in the development of solutions that will improve lives.
It all boils down to more inventions by creative minds in our country and support from both the private sector and the government. Capital is the biggest barrier to this advancement but there are numerous hubs and start up competitions that provide financial packages. They may not be much but they provide ground to start building. It is time we also started focusing on hardware for our numerous software to run on. Cheers.