Published on: 2018-07-19

Some are sceptic about the digital revolution. What would you say to those wary of technology?

This is a natural reaction because the technology is developing fast, and it is difficult to understand it in all its dimensions. The disruption can be tremendous and that’s why there are a certain scepticism and concern, because in the end we do not know for sure what the impact is going to be. We like feeling in control of things and these type of processes are not easy to retain control of; nor, sometimes, entirely predictable. Technology is fundamental to people’s well-being, hence the need to ask companies for more commitment. It is necessary for industry to take responsibility to foster the users’ confidence which is needed for social development.

 

Some jobs are going to disappear with the digital revolution. How can we manage this transition to minimize damage for those “losing out” in this process?

We still look at work in a rather traditional way, as “having something to do”: being in a company, getting up, going to a fixed place, and going back home at the end of the day. This model is obsolete and is going to change. Technology will enable new, more flexible ways of working, which today are still not 100% defined. We need to study these new models to better understand them and to enable new typologies of company and social models. The traditional 40-hours-a-week work model is going to disappear and will need to be reinvented. We need to start thinking how society will be organized in the future, because it will not be the same as now.

Can we come up with new social models in the face of this paradigm shift?

It is clear that the paradigm needs to change but there is no single, definitive answer. Nobody can actually know the dimension of the social transformation which the technology development is going to produce. This is a continuous process which is not happening all of a sudden, so education is necessary to understand it, as well as work to encourage new opportunities. Technology is going to create a large volume of work and new different jobs, but we need to avoid that control ends up concentrated in the hands of a few, leaving everyone else at a disadvantage.

What are the positives in this? Can we use the opportunities of big data to meet the challenges of the Sustainable Development Goals?

Technology can be used to be more transparent but can also be used in a negative way. I would say that 90% of it is applied for social good, the problem is that even a 1%, when misused, can make a lot of damage. We need to address the negative aspects and create mechanisms to prevent misuse which can change the world. If you look at investment in infrastructure and telecommunications, most goes to positive human development: wherever you apply technology, you see growth. However, even though in general the impact is a positive one, we need to discuss in a transparent manner the negative effects which technology can have on the planet. Scarcity of natural resources, minerals… are undeniable.

You can read the article in Spanish on Ethic here.

Picture taken by: Cristina Crespo Garay

Join our Newsletter

Receive your dose of sustainable news
and sign up for our newsletter!

Yes, you can use my e-mail address to send me information about GeSI's news, events and activities

   Global e-Sustainability Initiative (GeSI)
c/o Scotland House Rond Point Schuman 6 B-1040 Brussels Belgium