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Technology and society

Magda Skrzypek
Media development worker

Prague-based media development worker from Poland with a journalistic background. Previously worked on digital issues in Brussels. Piqs about digital issues, digital rights, data protection, new trends in journalism and anything else that grabs my attention.

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piqer: Magda Skrzypek
Sunday, 24 February 2019

Putting People Back At The Heart Of Emerging Technologies

Pitching is a cornerstone of building a startup. But imagine that during your fundraising efforts a potential investor asks you to set aside your business plan, and instead invites you to talk them through the human side of your entrepreneurial idea.

Last week, WaitWhat and Quartz unveiled "Should This Exist?", a new audio series that follows this exact approach. In a half-an-hour show, host Caterina Fake, a co-founder of Flickr and a seasoned startup investor, challenges technologists to creatively weigh the pros and cons of their innovations, and critically evaluate their potential implications for society. The podcast takes on Silicon Valley's “move fast and break things” ethos of disruptive innovation, and instead encourages mindfulness over speed.

"I believe that the boldest new technologies can help us flourish as human beings. Or destroy the very thing that makes us human. It’s our choice," says Fake.

The first episode of this promising arrival on the tech podcast scene takes a closer look at a headset "that hacks your brain with electricity” so you can learn sports, piano or any other activity that requires trained physical skills “as fast as a kid again." But by allowing its users to get faster and better, the technology also creates an uneven playing field for those who can't get their hands on a brain enhancement, potentially escalating "an endless success treadmill" where we all just try to “outdo one another”. As "Should This Exist?" shows, whether it’s a brain-stimulating headset or some other technological breakthrough, the innovators should consider not just whether they can make it happen, but, as reflected in the podcast's title itself, whether it should even exist.

Putting People Back At The Heart Of Emerging Technologies
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