Tech for Good and Collaboration with Governments?
Technology is not inherently good or bad, but technology companies are certainly viewed in a more negative light - rather unfairly.
The phrase “Tech for Good” was popularised in the UK & Ireland by the CEO of Bethnal Green Ventures Paul Miller, beginning in the 00s when web developers came together with public sector employees to try and hack a solution to a social problem. While these “hackatons” often didn’t lead to solutions; it led to the realisation that the government and techies could band together to try and make a real positive impact on the world.
So what happens when tech companies combine with the government? In a lot of cases, bad things - but that doesn’t mean that it should always be like that, and it doesn’t mean that the idea of government and big tech collaborating should scare you.
In order for the government to solve the overarching social problems that loom over us every day, they need to shed their slow moving bureaucracy and replace them with the quick moving, lean and agile philosophy of tech start ups - and they have started doing it.
According to a recent report by the McKinsey Global Institute, 53% of people believe that technology will have an overall positive impact on our individual well-being - but 25% believe that it will have a negative impact on our trust in society.
This juxtaposition in opinion is not a new thing - technology has both excited and terrified us for as long as we have been making technological advances, to quote the aforementioned report;
Philosophers and political economists from Plato to Karl Marx and Martin Heidegger have given technology a central role in worldviews that veer between benign optimism and despondent pessimism.
But where does this leave us? If people aren’t sure that technology is a good thing, why should we want it to partner with our policy makers and mold our futures?
Well, simply put - because it’s going to anyway. Whether you like it or not, it is in human nature to make technological advances; so we should at least try and make sure it leaves the world in a better state than it was before.
There are so many new Tech for Good start ups, such as DX Compliance Solutions and ourselves Journey Protector, looking to protect the most vulnerable people in our world. In order to do this, we will need to make sure that our policy makers are willing to engage in discourse, and are open to the idea of technological solutions to the big issues.
Journey Protector is engaging with the Dublin Port authority, to make sure that our solution is compliant to all of their needs, which could save logistics companies up to 5 hours disembarkation time, as they can see the conditions in the trailer without having to stop and search - which will be able to tell them that there has not been a breach, and there is no human being inside the trailer.
In closing, I don’t believe that technology is something that should be feared. If you had told someone in 1960s that you would be able to send someone a picture instantaneously from your telephone to theirs, they would tell you to read less science fiction books - but this is now possible, and something we take for granted.
I believe that we as technologists should have a goal to leave the world in a better place than it was when we entered it, and I’m refreshed to see that I’m not alone.