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Good Tech / Bad Tech

Jane Cockerell

A while ago I attended an AI Summit at the Excel centre as part of London Tech Week,

The morning started at a breakfast workshop with DevelopHer; a non-profit community dedicated to bringing women in technology together to create opportunities and a network of support through events, workshops, and learning. Having spent most of my working life within the non-profit sector I was staggered by the low number of women at the conference. DevelopHer are doing excellent and much needed work to address this please do check them out: https://developher.org

The focus of the discussion was on the effects and potential impact of artificial intelligence, issues around gender balance in the technology sector and how AI technologies may compound social and gender biases. It was fascinating and challenging, a key focus being on ‘how will we police’ the challenges that AI presents. (I’m researching this further and so will share more on this in a separate future post.)

After this stimulating but chastening start to the day, on exploring the wider conference I was heartened to see what is already in development for social good, in particular utilising Virtual and Augmented Reality for injury rehabilitation, with Parkinson’s, within Palliative care.

We are also within easy grasp of transformative developments in education, given what is already being utilised by some forward-thinking teachers, particularly in the US. When I arrived home I took a peak online and found this great resource http://virtualrealityforeducation.com/resources/

Three minutes and £17 later I was purchasing VR headset on Amazon. It’s not 'fully immersive' and works with a phone but gives a great sense of the potential benefits of this kind of technological advance for social good. I highly recommend you have a play with one and imagine what might be possible with this technology in 8-10 years time…

Despite the challenges, there are many reasons to be hopeful about how tech advances will increasingly help non-profits and social entrepreneurs to create a better future.

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