In the last few months, ethics in technology has become something of a preoccupation for me. I was lucky enough to be a member of the Tech for Good panel at Manchester Digital’s 2017 Digital Revolution conference, and I’ve recently taken part in interesting discussions with various industry peers about ethics and morals in business. Here are my thoughts...
There's a movement, here
It feels like there is a movement gathering pace in the North. A movement intensely focused on making a positive difference to society. A movement guided by beliefs that Human have proudly championed for many years; that doing what is right for your team, your clients and society should be core to how you do business, who you work with, and what you create.
Tech for Good Live is a part of that movement. Their moniker is "for people interested in changing the World using technology."
Tech for Good Live run events each month. June’s event was focused on education, a sector in which Human has been active for many years via software development projects such as The Telegraph Clearing app, amongst a variety of other EdTech projects. As such, I was keen to hear people’s thoughts on the potential opportunities, the solutions they’d created and the support we might be able to offer to those attending.
The original venue was to be on a roof terrace in Lever Street, but Manchester’s weather did its thing and the talks were moved to the Hyper Island space inside the building. All of the spaces Tech for Good choose are conducive to a relaxing and unassuming atmosphere.
The events aren’t flashy. They’re not being held to facilitate a hard sell, to impress people with deep pockets, to allow well known speakers to further their personal brand, or to make highly polished tech talk videos.
“The purpose is simple and powerful. Put an interesting and cohesive group of people, interested in doing social good, into a room for a few hours. Create a melting pot of ideas, and new ways of thinking.”
The format is simple too. Two or three short talks by those at the coal face, followed by a handful of lightning talks from anyone in the audience. Problem sharing and intelligent questions are commonplace.
The regular compère is Rebecca Rae-Evans. It’s a light-touch role where she acts as the glue to bring pieces together without getting in the way. When encouragement is required, she’ll usher people up to speak, or clap people for their bravery.
At the recent June event, Rebecca asked the audience which sector they were from. The balance was simply perfection; one third charity, one third tech and one third education. You could not ask for a better balance in a room wanting to discuss Tech for Good in the education sector.
Join the movement
I was lucky enough to meet many interesting people at the event. All will lead to further discussions and possibly collaborations in the future. Whether looking to make money, build great things or help people in need, all were interested in approaching problems in a way which benefits society.
It’s an event I will certainly attend again in the future. If the topic is suitable and I’m lucky enough to be asked, you may even see me there with a microphone in hand.
The next Tech for Good Live is AI and Chatbots (for Good) on the 26th July 2017. Join the movement.