Correct use of new technologies is an accelerator for the alleviation of global inequality

Tecnología y Desigualdad 02 Nov 2016

 Future Trends Forum [FTF], the best science and technology think tank in Spain - and one of the best in the world - presented its report on “Technology and Inequality: a fairer and more prosperous world" today in Madrid.
 The twenty-sixth FTF publication reveals through analysis from leading experts how employing new technologies boosts the development of the main factors contributing to prosperity in society: education, health, business, entrepreneurship, and government institutions.

Madrid, 3 November 2016.- Technological advances are changing the world at a dizzying pace, in key areas such as employment, health, and education. In such a setting new technology is a double-edged sword: it can create inequality in certain areas like employment, where it has the potential to lead to major job losses. But on the plus side there is greater potential, and this is something society must take advantage of: the widespread and proper use of new technologies is also a driver of equality, and is an essential accelerator for the alleviation of global inequality.

This is one of the main conclusions of the twenty-sixth publication from the Future Trends Forum (FTF) “Technology and Inequality: a fairer and more prosperous world”, presented today in Madrid. In the comprehensive report, a broad panel of experts analyse how technology can indeed be part of the problem, but above all, it is a fundamental part of the solution. It can contribute to universal access to vital services and can empower the masses. Exploiting its advantages would result in the overall improvement of society as a whole.
In education - one of the essential factors leading to prosperity - new technologies can have a positive net contribution, by making education more accessible, reducing its costs, and allowing access from any location. This paves the way for training with a focus on employability, improving people's ability to adapt professionally in a constantly changing world.
In the healthcare sector, technology is helping to reduce the gap between people who have access to health services and those who suffer the serious consequences of not having such access; here, technology is lessening the inequality the situation creates. The way patients interact with health services is changing: there are new tools such as telemedicine, wearables and the Internet of Things, big data, and the use of blockchain for medical records; as well as other trends in logistics. All of these increase the number of solutions we have at our disposal, especially when it comes to preventing ill health.
In employment, businesses - the main generators of job creation - will have to face technological and digital transformation head on to be able to survive in the short term. The report gives some recommendations as to the types of changes they need to tackle: how to implement horizontal structures, flexible working, and the need to open themselves up to the informal economy.
In this respect entrepreneurs are shown as a source of innovation, having already adapted to technology: they are an agent of prosperity, deserve recognition, and should be trained to lead the change.
Finally, the authorities must support the country's technological advancement by promoting digital acceleration, as well as encouraging access to, and the adoption of, new technologies by both citizens and institutions.
Out of all the recommendations it gives, the report from FTF highlights 12 key approaches to technology being used as a tool to combat inequality:

1. Recognise the Internet as a human right.
2. Use digital mentors based on artificial intelligence.
3. Set up digital exams for school children.
4. Introduce crowdfunding into the education sector.
5. Use open data in the healthcare sector.
6. Create a mobile app to quickly report incidents in the public sphere.
7. Create a digital bank of intellectual property.
8. Create a digital bank of skills.
9. Introduce specific KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) on inequality in businesses' social responsibility
reports, and a legal obligation to use suppliers that surpass a certain standard.
10. Create a collaborative economy platform.
11. Encourage digital transformation in the public sector.
12. Promote connectivity in rural or deprived areas.

Access the publication and all content on the trend here: