My View from Beyond the Wall
By: Rob Ryan
Does technology really make the world better?
Whoa, wait, of course it does right? I mean especially we who make our lives in the technology fueled world of entrepreneurship and innovation must believe it does, right?
Well, what about when the technology we love becomes part of the problem?
- When you consider the recent spate of mass murders in the USA perpetrated by young angry men, radicalized by hate filled-racist-nationalist content they regularly consume on the internet’s social media platforms (Facebook) and community driven message boards (8Chan,YouTube).
- When you consider how extremist politicians of all ideologies spread their nationalist, discriminatory policies and feelings in a moments notice as happens daily in USA, México, Brazil, Philippines (Twitter)
- What about when the military of Myanmar targets a religious minority of its population, the Rohingya, then uses a popular social communications platform to stir up divisive hate of them as well as locate them to chase them down and kill them in a historic genocide (WhatsApp)
- What about when the Russian government sponsors coders in massive facilities to target democratic elections around the world, to create and spread fake news to affect targeted voters (Facebook, Twitter, internet, Cambridge Analytica)
- Or when your young kids get bullied at school, then come home to continued online bullying ever present via social media on their phones or home computers (all platforms.)
Founders create solutions to problems. Entrepreneurs build software and technology products to help people’s or companies or communities lives–to connect more, to bank more easily, to trade more securely, to manage better, to operate more efficiently. Investors back these creations because they’ll grow rapidly, become market dominant and either be acquired (by bigger companies) or offer shares on the public market, But in nearly 2020…
- Are any of us in the world of entrepreneurship and innovation slowing down our rush to “change the world” and “become unicorns” in order to ask ourselves the real hard questions;
- About what can happen when our “great solutions” are applied in ways we did not anticipate
- Are our investors asking not just “how big can you grow” but also “what protections have you built in to your products to protect against misuse or abuse.
- In our rush to make people’s lives easier, cheaper, richer and more connected are we asking ourselves if there’s any chance people could use our tools to make people’s lives worse, more dangerous, less secure, more fear filled, more anxiety ridden?
I’ve been in the technology industry since I sold one of the first 100 copies of Microsoft Windows 95 software ever sold, so nearly 25 years. Ive seen the internet born, software taking over enterprises, the birth of the iPhone, social media, gig economy and SaaS-ification of nearly everything and I can feel that we’re in a unique moment in history right now. We’re at an inflection point, when its no longer good enough to just build cool shit that will grow rich companies for founders and investors. It’s time to deeply, truly understand the power of the tools we build to be used for good AND possibly bad and then address those possible outcomes BEFORE bad things happen.
SCALE is not inherently good and neither is technology. The tools we build are being SCALED for hate, radicalization, violence, targeted profiling, privacy violation and so many other damaging realities. Let’s be sure that when we build and invest in technology that can CHANGE THE WORLD, that it CHANGES it for GOOD!
You can follow ION IND at the links below.
What’s your company about? Future_is was born with the mission of developing talent that meets the skills and mindset that the industry needs, focused on personalization and accessibility.
We achieve accessibility through a hyper-connected academy online, growing the community at the LATAM level and generating content in Spanish with experts in the technology industry.
How did you get started as an entrepreneur? I can say that I was always interested in the world of business and creativity. Since I was little I liked to create things and try to sell them. My first venture was in 2009 when I was studying in college. This project was called Milk Factory, a character brand focused on children, with a vision of becoming Sanrio de México. With this brand we managed to participate in one of the most important events in Tijuana, which is Entijuanarte for 5 years in a row, collaborations with the Castro Limón Foundation and the Red Cross, as well as some local media such as TV Azteca, Sintesís and Telemundo covered our history.
What has been the hardest thing starting your business? One of the most difficult things has been the courage to renounce emotional and financial stability (far from my hometown, family and friends). There are always fears, it is not bad at all, we make the difference by arming ourselves with courage to face them and perform as people to follow our purpose.
What’s next for your company? Develop more programs, grow the LATAM community, add more instructors and companies that create in our vision and co-create quality content in order to become the largest digital skills academy at the LATAM level.
What’s your biggest dream in life? My dream is to be able to bring quality education that can impact thousands of people in LATAM with the purpose of improving their professional life and therefore their living conditions.
You can follow Future_is on the links below.
By Ana Quintero
The learning processes of new employees at any company are usually related to a set of common challenges: dealing with organizational changes is hard for the learners and engaging them is difficult. Meanwhile, delivering consistent trainings that also adapt to the diverse realities of new employees is a complex matter and it often results in ineffective and costly efforts.