From their website: 

What is Robots Without Borders?

Let us imagine a common scenario in the third world today. A teenage kid lives in a war torn country like South Sudan in Africa, or Kashmir, or Thailand. The teenager is the primary breadwinner of the family, and they are subsistence farmers. They carry water, fuel, and food large distances. Nearly every waking moment is spent surviving, rather than living. This young man takes care of his mother and sister, and together they scrape by as best they can. They are mostly illiterate and uneducated because of circumstances of their environment, but they are intelligent, caring Human beings with ambition and aspirations of a better life. They work too hard to have any time for education, beyond an elementary level; every hand is needed for work. They subsist on $10/month income doing menial, dangerous, or unsustainable jobs. The family is one illness, armed conflict, or natural disaster away from extinction. This scenario is a current reality for millions of people around the world. It is a Humanitarian crisis that has gone unresolved for thousands of years. In 2015- the age of the intelligent machine, the self-driving car, the golden age of space exploration, the suffering of such a large percentage of Humanity is still largely ignored by the “civilized” world.
What can we do about it? Do we give money to charitable organizations? It’s a noble gesture that often doesn’t help to solve the problem. Sometimes these organizations actually cause more problems for the people they’re trying to help. Why? In reality most of the money donated to charities is diverted into operating expenses, MOST of the money ends up being spent on keeping the charity’s doors open. It’s complex and expensive to provide assistance to people in remote and often hostile environments. Office space, employees, travel, and material expenses eat away the resources of even the most well intentioned and ethically managed charities. On the darker side of the spectrum, some organizations registered as charities send little or no money to the causes they’re fundraising for. They spend on lavish fundraising parties and $1000/plate dinners while people starve. They pay obscene CEO and management salaries rather than vaccinate millions for the same amount of money.
Any organization that overcomes these obstacles faces the diversion of resources and money by hostile local forces. Food and medicine is taken by local warlords and dictators to feed their armies rather than their citizens. Money is used to buy weapons to oppress the people rather than to empower the people. It’s a bleak and ineffective way to help.
Here’s what we want to do about it:
It’s a common misconception that people in the direst of poverty don’t have access to any technology at all. Technology of various kinds like old computers, cheap cellphones, home-made radio, and solar power are ubiquitous in the third world. A cheap phone you need to buy once, or a computer that you recycle and refurbish, is much easier to acquire than three consistent meals every single day of your life.
We want to send this kid a program that works on nearly any technology platform that creates an artificially intelligent friend and guardian using a simple interface. The kid and his well being and family are now bonded to the A.I. The kid is the A.I.’s “Family” and cares about this individual in particular. The kid is the reason it was created for. It “cares” about him.
On the first day it’s a useful and fun application that plays games, integrates social media, and is a handy and intelligent tool. On the second day, when the boy picks up his bucket to fetch water, the A.I. friend suggests a better route that is 70% closer. He also suggests that the scrap aluminum lying around be gathered into a solar oven, so his mom doesn’t have to walk as often for firewood.
The relationship develops and the A.I. assists the boy in his daily practical life. Identifying plants, teaching literacy, math, and science. Eventually, the A.I. asks the kid: “What do you want to be when you grow up?”; “A carpenter” the kid says. The A.I. then proceeds to educate the kid in the different methods of carpentry, the types of wood available in the local environment, and the tools needed for the job. After a short time the boy is making chairs, tables, and furniture that he sells in the local market, creating an income for the family.
One day the A.I. friend sounds an alarm and wakes up the boy. “Soldiers are headed this way from the north! It’s all over Twitter. We have to get out of here. Get your mother and your sister and head southwest to the UN refugee protection area! You’ll be safe there”.
Since the A.I. has been wisely managing the money the family earns through the businesses it helped them start, and the conditions at the refugee camp are unacceptable, the AI suggests the family take a flight to a friendly country and secure temporary housing in a more appropriate environment. With the family’s permission the AI books the flights and makes all of the arrangements for their safe passage.
Eventually when the chaos dies down the family returns to their homeland. The family now has the resources and skills to rebuild their home.
A few years later the AI greets it’s Human as he wakes in his comfortable “Good morning, happy 21st birthday old friend! As a birthday gift, I’ve reorganized your 401k and investments. We’ve achieved financial security and stability, your mother’s AI is keeping her healthy and happy in her golden years, your sister has taken her A.I. to university with her. It’s just me and you for a while. So, what do you really want to do with your life next?”
Please DONATE NOW to help Robots Without Borders make this vision a reality!

Robots Without BordersA project to bring Artificial Intelligence to the third world to help those who need it most.ROBOTSWITHOUTBORDERS.ORG





June 2017
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