Can the poor pay for drinking water?

by Rob Hope

Economists often ask awkward questions. With safe drinking water a human right as well one of the world’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) there must be the money to pay for everyone to get drinking water, right? Apparently not. With over two billion people without safely-managed water and 663 million without basic water the costs to meet the target by 2030 runs to US$114 billion per year.

The policy puzzle is how to square safe water for everyone with financial sustainability? As words fly up, delivery on the ground remains tricky. So if we ask the question from the perspective of the poor, and what they will pay, does that help us think of new ways forward? Continue reading

Developing a chatbot for mental health in the workplace

by Gillian Cameron

In 2016, I graduated with a degree in Computing from Glasgow Caledonian University. My final project involved developing a reminiscence application for people living with dementia. From this project, I developed a keen interest in how technology could be used in mental healthcare.

After finishing my degree, a friend had just started a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) – something I had never heard of. Once she explained what a KTP was, I was keen to check out current vacancies. Continue reading

The technology revolution

by Scott Corfe

The First Industrial Revolution saw water and steam used to power and mechanise production. The Second used electric power to create mass production. The Third used electronics and information technology to automate production.

The Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) is building on the Third, the digital revolution that has been occurring since the middle of the last century. It is characterised by a fusion of technologies that is blurring the lines between the physical, digital, and biological spheres. These technologies include artificial intelligence, big data, machine learning and “the internet of things” which is seeing an increasing proportion of household and business appliances connected to the internet. Continue reading