I have been extremely lucky to be able to work within an organisation that understands and promotes emerging technologies as well as using them in a positive way to support various sectors including manufacturing, creative and charities.
So going into my 6th month in the role I want to reflect on my learning of how technology can be used for good and what is being done to diminish its use in a negative way.
I recently attended a conference where Nicola Mendelsohn, VP EMEA of Facebook asked 'Is technology is a Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde?' and it made me think back on what I have experienced so far and how would I answer this, so here are some of my thoughts:
- The ability to connect people, organisations, systems and ideas: technology through social media, smartphones, video calling, through collaborative tools in the workplace allows people and organisations to connect instantly anywhere in the world.
- Using smart connected systems to integrate data and processes through connected devices and IoT helps organisations to manage their environments, systems and processes in a way they haven't before, allowing greater business impact
- We have health advances taking place which include cancer tumors being graded from radiology pictures, online GP services providing access to remote areas as a new service, AI and VR medical training increasing surgeon training methods and accuracy and deep mind recognition recognising eye diseases sooner to enable quicker treatments.
- There are renewable energy organisations helping the climate crisis, for example Bulb
- AI & Satellite technology supporting compliance to protect our oceans, monitor endangered species, track diseases, help improve weather forecasts and support with climate change
- AI is also providing data on populations in 3rd world countries to provide aid in the necessary places
- Then there's the fun stuff for example flying the first ever plane through VR (which I did last week!)
The not so positives:
- Lack of current regulation around personal data and its use although this is being addressed and I have seen that there are new regulation's being sought to ensure privacy for children's data online to protect them & offer confidence that they can utilise the technology available without their safety and personal information being compromised. As well as this GDPR has helped to prevent some misuse of data however I do believe we are responsible for our own data & can often share this too easily.
- Digital Underclass - Digital Inclusion isn't inclusive of everyone, we now have 'digital by default' however many people do not have access to technology or the internet and many have a digital skills gap. This is a focus of the government and many tech communities but there is a long way to go.
- Lack of diversity within technology sector for example only 19% of tech workers are women
The above are just a snippet the knowledge I have gained so far in my tech career. For me the pros definitely out weigh the cons. When technology is used in the right way by the right people amazing things can happen and even the negative points are things which are being addressed. It would be difficult to have anything which is evolving & growing so quickly like technology to not have some issues, the fact they are a focus is a positive in itself.
So yes, technology can be Mr Hyde but personally I see a lot more Dr Jekyll in it's innovation, ambition and possibility. I am excited to see what the next 6 months brings!