The Challenge

This years TADHack Johannesburg event is themed: “Technology for the Townships: Democratising the Exponentials”. While TADHack Global does not specify a specific theme, there has always been an underlying emphasis on encouraging participants at TADHack to use the technology at their disposal to develop meaningful solutions that have real impact.

Picking a good idea, that has impact can be difficult, because there are just so many out there, which is why the organising team at MTN have tried to focus the theme of TADHack Johannesburg towards using the best that technology has to offer to impact the lives of ordinary South Africans. The story of MTN itself is an example of how an “Exponential Technology” is able to fundamentally change the reality we live in, almost overnight. It’s hard to imagine the pre-cellular South Africa, right up to the late 1990’s, when less than 40% of our population had access to basic telephony services. It’s equally hard to appreciate the impact that cellular technology, in the hands of entrepreneurial individuals, was able to address this challenge and change the future prospects of millions.

Understanding the theme “Democratising the Exponentials” is the 1st step toward hacking a solution that is worthy of winning the $1000 grand prize, but more importantly, it may just lead you an a path toward having an impact on the lives of your fellow citizens.

Exponential Technologies

“Exponential technologies are those which are rapidly accelerating and shaping major industries and all aspects of our lives. Exponential technologies include artificial intelligence (AI), augmented and virtual reality (AR, VR), data science, digital biology and biotech, medicine, nanotech and digital fabrication, networks and computing systems, robotics, and autonomous vehicles. We believe that the solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges lie at the intersection of these exponential technologies. That is, when two or more of these technologies are used in combination to attack a persistent challenge, the possibility of developing a sustainable solution becomes much more likely.”  Singularity University

When we think of exponentials, we often try and picture use-cases that are applicable to a modern, western society, with the latest in gadgetry and access to the best services. It’s typically the high-tech business person sitting at the back of his/her luxury self-driving car, instructing his AI bot at home to pre-heat dinner. Local challenges, faced by ordinary citizens, like access to basic human rights, are usually left to be solved in the old way.  Yet, exponential technologies are the technologies with the most likelihood to make significant strides, in the shortest amount of time, i.e. Impact, given a little bit of creativity. 

Therefore, when we talk about Democratising the Exponentials, we talk about using the best technology that’s out there to solve the real challenges  that people face, right here in Johannesburg, right now.

How will you positively impact the lives of Millions of people living in Townships using Blockchain or AI or AR/VR?