Reducing inequalities
Nuno Nogueira People and Client Experience Director

¿Cómo puede la tecnología ayudarnos a reducir las desigualdades sociales?

In an article I published at Briefing Magazine ‘3D Data Driven Decisions’, I shared some of the main ideas that underlie the challenges in the decision-making process - individual and collective. And, as our relationship with the 'data' and the 'information' thus obtained, has an impact - often decisive - on the exercise of our 'free will'.

In this context, Snowden's contribution (Web Summit Lisboa), to the debate on where the abuse begins and our predisposition to its end, is recognizable and identifiable.

Let's illustrate the following exercise. Let’s question a few thousand people of multiple nationalities and different social, cultural, and professional backgrounds. Are they willing to be tracked down, at any given time, their location, actions, and communications? Most likely the answer would be “no” for more than 90% if not almost unanimous. Especially if they don’t trust who performed such surveillance and tracing action and the related process.

Let's make the exercise more complex. Let's ask the same people if they would be willing to do so, for health reasons. For example, what if they had a cardiac episode, and could be quickly assisted and therefore have an additional chance of survival? Probably the answer would be the opposite.

There is a monumental hole in the theory of the ‘abuse’ of information and data use

This monumental hole is called ‘free will’. Many of us are willing (or even want) to be traced or even 'watched', on our own terms and/or limits, if it brings a significant/relevant advantage to our lives. So, the core element in the debate is not so much the abuse or not, but the price to pay and who pays it.

Let's get back to our exercise. Imagine that the service is essentially Health Care -tracing and localization, immediate assistance, living or dying, or just surviving. Who would want it? Probably all of us. Who would pay for it? Or want to? And at what price?

How to finance this service? Private or Public funding? If private, what are we willing to give in return? And is that the society/community we are looking for? The wealthy people can get the most desired technology and digital transformation features but not all the others. If public, – as a public good/service – are we capable to keep moving fast in technology innovation and transformation?

When it comes to data use and transformation, the challenge of choice and the use of ‘free will’, gives us the opportunity to get back to the core debate: how far and how spread should the benefits be for technology throughout the community and if we would like to use such benefits to reduce or mitigate our social and economic divide. Or, instead, will such fractures increase exponentially?