Digital technology has the ability to disrupt and to change the future, but it has to do it by actually challenging the past. Disruption doesn’t happen when one institution is simply replaced by another, which is what we are seeing today. Disruption only occurs by offering a viable and sustainable alternative to the system in place. It requires a rewriting of the current underlying power structures and to do this it needs to put forward a model that’s not built on the exploitation of others rather than creating another middleman or simply rent seeking.
We need a new narrative for digital technology, one that seeks to empower communities and individuals and achieves that by engaging with them, rather than selling crap at scale. At the moment we have reached a point where you can’t distinguish the signal from the noise. Where technology is increasingly used for inhumane purposes rather than empowering and enriching our lives.
If you create something which only increases the display of ads to people, then what good is it? How is this actually helping?
We have to step back and realise that this isn’t about technology – its about people. The decisions we make aren’t just about money or the next big thing to investment in, the next trend or item on the hype cycle.
The whole tech sector needs to realise that technology has real power and influence. The field that we are working in affects people’s lives. Their livelihoods. Their futures and their family’s.
Whatever you take out, whatever data you collect, whatever profit you make – you take from those individuals. So make sure it matters. Make sure it does no harm. Make sure it benefits them. Make sure it enriches them. Make sure it brings a smile to their face. Make sure you recognise them as people.