In recent months, we have seen countless stories investigating the positive and negative impact of technology on our lives. There is a shift to truly think about the unintended consequences of technology as such, and more and more people are engaging in discussions around responsible and ethical tech. David Ryan Polgar, tech ethicist and organiser of ‘All Tech Is Human: A Summit on Ethical Tech’ hopes that the Summit can connect more people working in this space and serve as a catalyst for positive change. We at Tech for Good Global spoke to him about the upcoming event.
You're holding All Tech Is Human: A Summit on Ethical Tech on 20 October in NYC. Tell us about the event.
David Ryan Polgar (DRP): I am always inspired by the vast amount of passionate people focused on ethical tech, and the organizations that are working tirelessly to move the need towards more thoughtfulness towards technology. What we lack, however, is cohesiveness around who is who and where to get involved.
We're hoping to change that with All Tech Is Human: A Summit on Ethical Tech on 20 October at ThoughtWorks in NYC. We're bringing together 200 ethical tech advocates, organisational leaders, tech enthusiasts, and interested media from a diverse range of perspectives. It will be a melting pot of ideas, filled with lightning talks, panels, workshops, and networking. We are currently talking to a few potential organisational partners as well, to ensure this is truly a co-created event.
The aim with All Tech Is Human: A Summit on Ethical Tech is to better understand the problems of the present and then co-create a more thoughtful future. The best part about planning this ethical tech summit so far has been getting contacted by people and organisations that I didn't know before. There is a large ethical tech movement, but it often disjoined. Personally, I've been inspired by some of the great work Doteveryone has been doing to map the movement.
What would you like to see accomplished from this ethical tech summit?
(DRP): So much around ethical tech in the last few years has been about building awareness. I've been involved in the movement for a bunch of years now, so I've seen a dramatic shift in the awareness level of the general public. That's good. But now what? Where do people go? How do they get involved if this is an issue they are passionate about?
What we're hoping for is that attendees at the ethical tech summit will talk with the organisations there and get involved. We want people to meet other passionate ethical tech advocates and hatch plans to collaborate. All Tech Is Human: A Summit on Ethical Tech can serve as a catalyst, a spark that ignites change.
A frequent frustration I hear from people is that they get inspired to change the world at a conference, but then the enthusiasm fades over time because it is not channels into anything. That's what we're hoping to alter. We want to offer an easy way for interested people--coming about the issue from diverse perspectives and backgrounds--to know how to get involved and who they should can talk to. Our baked-in ethos is being open and inclusive, highly collaborative.
Why choose the name "All Tech Is Human"?
(DRP): "All Tech Is Human" is built around the idea that we often passionately disagree about the impact of tech and what we should do, but we all agree that technology should better humanity. All tech is human. It is made by humans, therefore it should obviously benefit humans. The concern, of course, is that our development and implementation of technology is often misaligned with our interests as humanity to be more knowledgeable, happier, safer, etc.
How can people get involved?
(DRP): For those that can make the summit on 20 Oct, I'll see you there. If you can't, we'll be following up the event with co-created ideas and a resource guide to get involved. And if you have an idea you would like to suggest for a panel, talk, or workshop at the upcoming event, you can fill out this brief form.
All Tech Is Human is still pretty in its earlier stages, but we are aiming to build out a hub of information around groups, people, and events. People can stay in touch at AllTechIsHuman.com
We want people to meet other passionate ethical tech advocates and hatch plans to collaborate.