International Women's Day
News & community - Community

Humanitarian Future – Limits to Tech in Humanitarian Work

We have already talked about how humanitarians can use new technologies to save lives. However, humanitarian workers cannot just be replaced by technologies. There are various limits to tech in humanitarian work. Let’s take a look at what they are.  

The ultimate humanitarian traveling list

Human Compassion

First of all, it is impossible for a machine to replace the warmth of human compassion. One of the main reasons that humanitarians do what they do is thanks to compassion. While technology can perform tasks, it cannot feel. We think you know what compassion means.

As such, technology can provide a service, responding to the need for efficiency and security in specific humanitarian tasks. However, people are still vital in creating a community of aid that touches not only people’s physical well-being but also their emotional state.

Face-to-face Humanitarian Aid

Many people facing disasters and conflict undergo a lot of stress and fear. To overcome these emotions, they seek the help of their community of fellow humans. This is where humanitarian aid provided by people is necessary.

It is not the same to have a person comfort you, compared to a robot that provides an emotionless service based on the tasks that it is assigned.

Nuanced Evaluation

Human beings can be very complex, as are the situations that they find themselves in. Few things in a disaster or conflict are black and white. While technology can provide general statistics or a technical evaluation, it cannot necessarily understand people or their actions.

As such, it is necessary to balance hard data and information with contextual analysis that only a person can perform.

LGBT rights

Applying Humanitarian Principles

Technology can successfully implement some of the major humanitarian principles. It is possible that independence and neutrality are easier for tech than for humans. However, it cannot apply the central principle of humanitarian work – humanity. Since this principle is based entirely on compassion and human interaction, it is a limit to the use of technology in humanitarian aid in and of itself.

Privacy and Security

Much of the technology used for humanitarian work has to do with data. With any substantial amount of data, there is always a question of privacy and security. While humanitarian organizations do their best to keep data secure, it is both costly and sometimes not sufficient.

Therefore, one of the issues that come up when it comes to using technology for social good is how data is being managed. Sometimes, it is too expensive for the impact that it can have. Thus, organizations should be careful in choosing their data sources and what data they collect.

Ethical Issues

Last but not least, most technologies come with a host of ethical issues. This applies to all fields but is particularly sensitive when it comes to humanitarian work. Let’s take drones as an example. These have been widely discussed by the humanitarian field, as they can compromise the privacy of the people that they aid. In conflict situations, they can also cause issues with the different parties involved.

Another example is the use of biometric data in refugee camps. If you are in desperate need of food and shelter you probably are willing to give up any data. Refugees are likely unaware of what they are consenting to when sharing their biometric information. This raises an ethical issue of consent and privacy.

Overall, it is essential to recognize that while tech in humanitarian work can have many benefits, it comes with its costs. Organizations implementing technology to save lives must evaluate the risks and benefits that technology presents. Ultimately, no matter what tech they use, it should resect both humanitarian principles and human rights.

Here is What the Humanitarian Future Might Look Like

New technologies have been changing the world for centuries. Today, technology is changing at a faster pace than ever. And that means a lot of new trends for the humanitarian future. We’ve covered some of the top trends in humanitarian tech on this website. Together, they will undoubtedly alter the global development and aid sectors. So here is an overview of what the humanitarian future might look like.

We Help You to Travel 

We believe our world is a better place when compassion can travel where it is needed most. As a global humanitarian travel organization, we devote ourselves to serving those who serve the world. Recently Key Travel and Raptim Humanitarian Travel (“Raptim”) have announced to merging our business operations to form the world’s largest travel management company exclusively focused on the humanitarian, faith-based and academic sectors. You can reach our experienced staff anytime. Please use our quick address locator to contact your nearest Raptim office should you have any questions.