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Fixing the future: 5 things we can do to ensure technology serves us and not vice-versa

3 min read

Better Society
Source: BrightVibes

How can we make sure technology serves Humanity and not the other way around? It starts by defining what it actually means to be human, says Andrew Keen, author and co-founder of Humathon Foundation.

How to Fix the Future: Humanism in a digital age

Today is an unprecedented era in history where technological advances stimulate perpetual change with ever-increasing speed. In this rapidly advancing world, it is becoming progressively important to recognise and value human agency. Writer, speaker and founder of Humathon Foundation, Andrew Keen identifies five broad strategies to tackle the digital future: competitive innovation, government regulation, consumer choice, social responsibility by business leaders, and education. 

‘In an increasingly technocentric world, we believe focusing on human values will be similarly key to successful business and society as it was in the industrial age. We believe that the thriving companies and societies of the 21st century will be those that (re)integrate human values and human agency into their digital DNA.’ — Humathon.org
What does it mean to be human in a digital age? ‘In an increasingly technocentric world, we believe focusing on human values will be similarly key to successful business and society as it was in the industrial age. We believe that the thriving companies and societies of the 21st century will be those that (re)integrate human values and human agency into their digital DNA.’ — Humathon.org Source: Unsplash/FranckV.

Keen is optimistic the future may yet become something that we can look forward to

Author, speaker, and co-founder of Humathon Foundation, Andrew Keen was among the earliest to write about the potential dangers of the Internet to our culture and society. Keen’s new book, How to Fix the Future, based on research, analysis, and Keen’s own reporting in America and around the world, showcases global solutions for our digital predicament. 

After the massive changes of the Industrial Revolution, civilised societies remade nineteenth-century capitalism into a more humane version of itself, and Keen shows how we can do the same thing in the wake of the Digital Revolution.

Keen identifies five broad strategies to tackle the digital future: 

  1. Regulation, which involves government fixing technology.
  2. Innovation, which means entrepreneurs coming up with a better, more socially responsible products.
  3. Consumer engagement, which means consumers demanding better, more responsible products
  4. Citizen engagement, which involves all of us demanding a better future as parents as voters we will have a role to play, and finally…
  5. Education, which requires changes in our education system so that we prepare people for a world of artificial intelligence.

Traveling the world in order to identify best (and worst) practices in these five areas, Keen moved from Estonia, where the cofounder of Skype and the forward-thinking president Toomas Ilves are forming a model for Internet digital governance, to Germany, whose automobile titans are acting carefully to navigate the future of self-driving cars, to Scandinavia, Korea, India, and, of course, Silicon Valley.

How to Fix the Future provides hope that the economic inequality, unemployment, cultural decay, war on privacy, and individual alienation that the digital upheaval is causing may still be solvable, and that the future may yet become something that we can look forward to. 

Source: ajkeen.com

Below: Who, or what, is Humathon?

“These are lessons in developing our empathy, our creativity and thinking for ourselves, not against the algorithm, but with the algorithm.”
We need to educate people in developing the muscle of what it means to be human. “ — Andrew Keen “These are lessons in developing our empathy, our creativity and thinking for ourselves, not against the algorithm, but with the algorithm.” Source: Unsplash/ThisisEngineeringRAEng

Humathon, a hackathon for humanity

Humathon Foundation is a worldwide non-profit initiative facilitating essential discussion on what it means to be human in a digital age. Their website reads:

‘In our humathons (hackathons for humans) we unite entrepreneurs, philosophers, teachers, politicians and business leaders to debate and share views on the impact of technology, artificial intelligence and the ‘filter bubble’ on us as human beings and more broadly across businesses, education, politics and our Society as a whole. The objective of Humathon.org is to gather collective thrust in thinking about human values and human agency in the digital era.’

A Humathon is essentially a hackathon for humans which revolves around collaboration, inspiration and exploration of all perspectives. Humathons challenge ‘technology only’ driven thinking by viewing these through a human value and human agency lens. After each event they create a fully anonymised manifest summarising all discussions, perspectives and thought provocations of the Humathon.

Humathon.org was founded by Andrew Keen and entrepreneurs Arno Otto and Rudiger Wanck.

Source: Humathon.org

What it means to be human in the digital age. How can we make sure technology serves Humanity and not the other way around? It starts by defining what it actually means to be human, says Andrew Keen, author and co-founder of Humathon Foundation. Source: Facebook/BrightVibes
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