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Nov 12 2015

#maketechhuman raises tough questions and smart solutions

This blog is by Stacey Brierley, Head of Brand and Corporate Marketing at Nokia Networks.Twitter: @StaceyBrierley

The human heart and the connected world make a pretty powerful combination.

The #maketechhuman conversation has been demonstrating the broad synergy that's possible when high-speed, high-tech networks expand the reach of our compassion and intelligence, from improving the way we educate our children to restoring our natural world, providing timely aid to disaster areas, and even helping crowdsource cures for rare diseases.

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"Society benefits if all the human race is empowered and aspiring to do great things," says Andrew Ng, in discussing the role artificial intelligence will play in shaping our future.

Over the past year, the #maketechhuman program has featured interviews with experts like Andrew Ng – leading technologists, scientists, and academics who have ideas and opinions about how technology should shape our world, and vice versa.

What is #maketechhuman?

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A global discussion enabled by Nokia and WIRED, #maketechhuman is multi-platform, creating inspirational stories, interviews, videos, and podcasts with tech luminaries and influencers. The goal? To spur conversation and awareness around the question: “How can we make sure technology serves humanity and not the other way around?"

There's no value in technology for technology's sake, but in the ways it makes our lives easier, safer, and more meaningful. The #maketechhuman debate addresses five key areas in which technology presents huge opportunities and challenges: artificial intelligence, privacy, security, equality, and human connection.

Expanding human capabilities

A highly networked world opens our mind to new information, which leads to new ideas. We better understand the plight of others, expanding our soul's capacity for compassion, and increasing our ability to make a difference. Those efforts range from world-shaping changes in the ways we can feed a hungry planet or close the crippling wealth inequality gap to simple quality-of-life tweaks that may help you find a date on Saturday night.

While compassion and generosity may comprise the "better angels of our nature" (as Lincoln called it), poisonous elements like greed, fear, isolation, and suspicion are also an intrinsic part of being human. Similarly, technology offers downsides that must be understood and managed. As tech becomes ubiquitous, questions about the depth of its influence arise: Is our privacy for sale? Is tech dumbing us down? Will robots steal our jobs? Is social media connecting us digitally but handicapping us emotionally? How is the always-on nature of our tech-fueled society shaping the minds and values of our kids? Is tech making us happy or is it intensifying our fears of what the future might hold?

These are all questions experts have debated on #maketechhuman over the past year. Leading thinkers from theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking to anti-cyberbullying activist Monica Lewinsky have shared their hopes and fears about where technology is taking us. They've laid the groundwork, and now the conversation is focusing on tech solutions to humanity's most pressing issues including the growing wealth gap, climate change, and cybersecurity threats.

Nokia and WIRED announced the first-ever #maketechhuman Agents of Change – a list of entrepreneurs, advocates, and innovators who are using technology to fundamentally improve human welfare. Nathan Eagle built a mobile platform that aims to give free internet to 1 billion people who previously couldn't access the web. Nonny de la Peña uses virtual reality to take us to the front lines of Syria. And Leila Janah developed a platform that connects remote workers in impoverished communities to digital work for firms in Silicon Valley and beyond.

As the year draws to a close, #maketechhuman will continue to share interviews, videos, and podcasts with these influencers and countless others who are using technology in ways that serves us as a society.

We welcome you to join the discussion at #maketechhuman and read more on our dedicated maketechhuman webpage.

Please share your thoughts on this topic by replying below – and join the discussion with @nokianetworks on Twitter using #NetworksPerform #mobilebroadband #maketechhuman.

About Stacey Brierley

Stacey Brierley is Head of Brand and Corporate Marketing at Nokia Networks.