What If? Tech Doing Good on Purpose

By Laura Deck, posted on

Benetech showcases impact of software solutions that leverage AI and advanced techniques to achieve inclusive education, global literacy, justice, and equity

What if we could harness and scale innovation in the service of society?  What if all people could reap the benefits of software? What if technology actually did good on purpose? Creating and scaling software innovations that advance inclusion, equity, and justice, across the globe, is what Benetech has always done.

Benetech’s software for social good model is all about working together, designing inclusively, and deploying globally – leaving no one behind. We value our partnerships across tech, government, private and social sectors, and with individuals.

Our goal is impact, not profit, and in Benetech’s 20 years, we have accomplished major impact in inclusive education, global literacy, human rights, and poverty alleviation. To that end, on December 1, Benetech hosted a virtual event to showcase our impact to date and preview tomorrow’s opportunities for even greater impact. Here is a recap with links to recordings for additional information.

Advancing Inclusive Education and Global Literacy

What if we could make education and literacy available to everyone? That goal is even more urgent now as the COVID-19 pandemic has forced many learning environments into the virtual realm.

Bookshare – the world’s largest library of accessible ebooks launched in 2002

  • Today’s impact: delivered 18 million books from 900 publisher partners to 850,000 members in 80 countries to allow them to read and learn from anywhere. The international expansion includes 15 national libraries on 6 continents, with books in 12 languages, and growing
  • Tomorrow’s opportunity: serve the 300 million blind and visually impaired plus the 350-700 million individuals with learning disabilities so they can choose any book, anytime, anywhere, on any device and access remote personalized learning

Accessible STEM Content – use AI and machine learning to convert technical and mathematical equations to text-based content

  • Today’s impact: Mathshare – a digital chalkboard that lets students complete problems step by step and show their work
  • Tomorrow’s opportunity: Math Detective — AI-based math transformation engine for STEM content such as equations, formulas, and graphs

Smart Speaker Technology – new way of facilitating distance learning for students and bringing books to seniors

  • Today’s impact: develop and test Alexa and Google Home voice technology
  • Tomorrow’s opportunity: in Fall 2021, deploy Bookshare Reader on Alexa and Google Home

Advancing Equity and Justice

What if we could harness and scale data with the purpose of serving vulnerable members of society? In 2003, we launched our human rights initiative that supported human rights defenders in over 50 countries. Today, we’re enabling justice in this modern age of multimedia and citizen activism by using artificial intelligence for good. Initiatives include:

Benetech Service Net – platform that connects referral organizations and service providers with people in need of social services

  • Today’s impact: real-time updates for effective “first touch” service and “no wrong front door”
  • Tomorrow’s opportunity: add more service providers and expand to other municipalities and regions

JusticeAI helps human rights defenders archive evidence in order to pursue justice 

  • Today’s impact: fingerprint, analyze and classify Syrian conflict videos as evidence for UN International Impartial and Independent Mechanism on Syrian Accountability
  • Tomorrow’s opportunity: assist investigative journalists and other truth seekers

Data for Inclusion (D4I) – An accessible platform to enable information sharing for people with disabilities and the organizations who work with them 

  • Today’s impact: give voice to most vulnerable through data gathering, analysis, and reporting for disability rights advocacy
  • Tomorrow’s opportunity: continue testing and improving app in Kenya and Bangladesh

Help Us Do More Good on Purpose

Thank you to the many donors, partners, community members, and volunteers around the world who support our work. We are excited to make tomorrow’s opportunities a reality and hope you will consider funding our important work. You can help us accelerate our impact and continue to harness technology to do more good on purpose.

Please donate or get involved.