The global spread of mobile phones has ignited broad aspirations regarding the potential role of technology in improving the lives of the poor. However, researchers and policymakers often meet with surprises when deploying new technologies in low-resource environments. In this talk, I will describe some of our successes, failures, and lessons learned in deploying technologies for health and human development in India over the past five years. I will structure the talk around two themes, voice portals for citizen reporting and mobile tools for health data collection, and will synthesize our experiences into a set of recommendations for future interventions.
Bill Thies has been a researcher at Microsoft Research India since 2008. His research focuses on the design and evaluation of technologies that contribute to the socioeconomic development of low-income communities (ICT4D). This work often encompasses human-computer interaction, online education, mHealth, crowdsourcing, and other areas. Before moving to India, Bill received his degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he worked on programming languages for multicore processors as well as microfluidic chips. His dissertation was the recipient of the ACM SIGPLAN Outstanding Doctoral Dissertation award.
Faculty Host: Jen Mankoff