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March 12, 2020

Tech for people !

March 12, 2020

In a grandstand at the " Echoes " Isabelle Mashola, president of isahit, advocates putting technology at the service of people.

How to put technology to work for people

"Tech for Good": it's THE trend of the moment. Large companies and start-ups alike are claiming it, aware that society now expects them to have a positive impact on the world and society. And, we can only rejoice in this. This movement should be encouraged, provided of course that "goodwashing" is not the new "greenwashing". But what exactly does "good" mean? "Good for whom and for what? Mathieu Baudin, historian and director of the Institute for Desirable Futures, prefers the expression "Tech for Good" to the notion of "Tech for What", referring more to the meaning of technology, its usefulness and its raison d'être. But another declination is possible, that of "Tech for People", implying that technology must be at the service of people.

From meaning to impact

More than just another slogan in the "startup" jargon, "Tech for People" is about directing and evaluating the concrete impact of a technology or company, no longer on an evanescent "good" but on people's real lives. It also offers the possibility of overcoming the opposition between technology and people, as if the former were a threat to the latter. Technology in itself is neither good nor bad: it is the use to which it is put that counts. Whether it is to improve health, generate mutual aid or protect the environment, digital technology has repeatedly demonstrated that it can help improve the lives and daily lives of millions of people. In developing countries in particular, technology is creating opportunities. People in precarious or fragile situations can nowadays emancipate themselves personally and financially, but also blossom, by training in new digital professions.

Confronting the digital divide

Beyond the positive impact it can have on people's lives, technology is and will increasingly be an indispensable skill to assimilate in order to take full advantage of the opportunities of tomorrow's world. It is a question of "empowerment". "Tech for People" also means responding to the challenge of making digital technology a powerful lever for inclusion. The digital divide spares no one, not even the "digital natives". Today, young people mainly perceive the playful dimension of this phenomenon but do not necessarily consider it as a means of integration or a professional springboard. However, it is not enough to know how to create and manage an Instagram account to claim to be an expert in technology. Many young adults of Generation Z do not have the right skills to effectively apply for an online job. All of this can be learned.

Training to improve productivity

Further on, it is a question of continuously training an active population that often cannot keep up with the frantic pace of innovation: a major economic challenge!

To date, only 30.9% of the French have a little more than basic digital knowledge compared to 50.1% of the Finns and 48.8% of the British. In a study entitled "The usefulness of professional training in the face of the digital revolution", economists Nathalie Chusseau and Jacques Pelletan of the Sapiens Institute estimate that training 10% of the French working population, i.e. 3 million people, in digital skills for 6 months would immediately lead to a 2.5% increase in GDP.

By human, for human

The Millenials who will be at the heart of tomorrow's business no longer want bullshit jobs. They want to give meaning to their work, to feel that they are contributing to a better world, that they can have an impact on it while aspiring to less linear and more agile careers. Claiming to be "Tech for People" is both to open up this perspective of meaning to them and to give them all the tools they need to evolve as they see fit in an increasingly digitalized world. It is also an opportunity for companies to attract the best talent in order to remain at the forefront of innovation. Let's face it: tomorrow's technology will only be made by and for people.

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