Science and technology have progressed exponentially, making it possible for humans to live longer, healthier, more creative lives. The explosion of Internet and mobile phone technologies have increased trade, literacy, and mobility.11 At the same time, life expectancy for the poor has not increased and is declining.9
As science fiction writer William Gibson famously quipped, the future is here, but unevenly distributed. With urgent problems from inequality to climate change, we must train more passionate and innovative people—what I call public entrepreneurs—to learn how to leverage new technology to tackle public problems. Public problems are those compelling and important challenges where neither the problem is well understood nor the solution agreed upon, yet we must devise and implement approaches, often from different disciplines, in an effort to improve people's lives.
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