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What the world needs now - humane technology

Amber Mac, digital innovator


10 November 2021

What the world needs now is humane technology and leadership that puts people first, says internationally-recognised digital innovator Amber Mac.

Introduced by APEC CEO Summit AI host Maia, Ms Mac is a keynote speaker and expert on digital disruption, including the future of work, commerce and emerging technologies.

“For decades we’ve been talking about how technology can truly improve the world but too much of our technology today actually exploits users,” Ms Mac said.

Every leading organisation is on their way to becoming, or already is, a technology business, and will face the same challenges big tech is grappling with – equity, transparency, sustainability and trust.

“While the big tech companies of today have broken parts of democracy, humanity and trust, it’s up to all of us to figure out a way to fix it and bring as many people, the planet and purpose along for the ride.

“This shift to humane technology will likely require a new set of leaders. Leaders that are focused on people first, and profits will follow.”

COVID 19 has led to rapid acceleration of new technologies and a shift to remote working. Leaders had a responsibility for staff wellness, she said.

Remote workers were often working well beyond 40 hours a week. This came at a cost, with anxiety reportedly affecting about 52% of home workers.

“Another serious issue is availability creep meaning workers have no boundaries any more in terms of when to shut things down.”

The digital disruption opportunity might be better explained as the digital disruption imperative, Ms Mac said. Few organisations or governments would thrive in the future without a major rethink.

“Everyone should care about the digital infrastructure divide. There are 7.8 billion people in the world and 3.6 billion do not have basic internet access. The digital imperative means bridging this gap.”

Ms Mac, President of Ambermac media, began her career in a San Francisco technology start-up during the dotcom boom. She is a Canadian technology reporter, entrepreneur, award-winning podcaster and author, and television and radio host. In 2018, she was named one of 30 inspirational women making a difference in tech by technology incubator DMZ.  

The Summit is being supported by PwC (Knowledge Partner), Contact Energy, Fonterra, Microsoft and Westpac NZ.