Connecting Tech and Markets with Organisations – a Perspective for the Public Health NGO

Consciously or unconsciously – we are watching the emergence of a new world. A world where technology both supersedes and precedes all other human considerations of both life and living. Health and Social Security would not only not be far from the encroachments of the new world order – rather – as the recent COVID19 pandemic shows, they sit at one of the epicentres of the ‘system’ which is emerging. Issues of human rights, dignity, freedom, education, access to livelihoods and basic health and safety protections, equity, sovereignty and supremacy of the nation state, many vertices are under scanner and as individuals it is very much pertinent to question and adjudicate the responses to each of the vertices coming under the scanner of the tech based new global order. Interestingly, even the definitions are changing, or rather, evolving.

At the heart of this discussion lies what we in Oxford have started calling the TMO Framework. Technology – Markets and Organisations. To us, this is the new trinity of the global landscape. We believe that technology is continuously evolving and in spite of various other assumptions, some of us – not all, believe that the AI winter is finally over.

The precursors to the autogenic algorithms are thawing and by 2030 Artificial Intelligence will be fully deployed. That single event would be phenomenal and would undoubtedly redefine the markets for both products and services, and factors of production. The way global communities and indeed individuals across the globe would be placed vis-à-vis an AI-enabled superstructure, could now only be anyone’s guess – if not biased by prejudices or wishful thinking.  Together with the emergence of technology and the reformulation of the markets come the question of organisations in their various manifestations. Organisations are not only limited to private or public entities – but may also encompass infrastructural underwritings – like the social contracts which define the modus operandi of the societies that we live in and also superstructures like the legal and enforcement mechanisms, the state and the regional or multilateral bodies like the United Nations or the World Health Organisation.

The New World – which is emerging virtually independent of the post-Westphalian state-driven initiatives echo a call for putting the appeal for Global Equity at the centre of any design emerging. While certainly it will have implications for sovereignty, at least the way we perceive and conceive the construct in our collective consciousness, but also on the way diplomacy is conducted at the global stage. The core idea being – ensuring equity and access – across value chains of various types and sorts.

Resolve to put the welfare of the individual at the centre of this discourse or debate is critical. And it must accompany our efforts towards mitigating the immediate challenges – such as the ones posed by the COVID19 outbreak. For each community and society that we serve as individuals, resilience to recover and ensuring universal health coverage are issues of eminence. Re-imagination for the right advocacy policies is the need of the times that we are living in. NGOs, like any other organized entity, need to introspect and re-evaluate their mission statement and if required reposition themselves on the basis of the evolving world order. Only by remaining relevant to both the short and long-term needs of the individual would an entity survive as an organism. Those who would fail to pay heed would be annihilated. Those who ride the tide would reach the promised lands – even though they might be in bits and petabytes.

About the Author: Dr. Syed Muntasir Mamun is Board Member, CHD Group International Advisory Committee and with the Said School of Business, Oxford University, UK.

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