Tech for Social Change

Sally Eaves shared with us her vision on how technology can make a social difference in a TED Talk on Disruptive Technologies

No important conference, summit or blockchain event goes by without the presence and expertise of Sally Eaves, lecturer of the Global Master’s in Blockchain Technologies at Zigurat. Over the past years, she has become one of the most influential women in Fintech and blockchain. In a TED talk about a year ago on Disruptive Technologies, she shared with us her vision on how technology can make a social difference.

Change the Narrative

Popular press likes to focus on the sensational part of the story, where the main narrative is about people losing their jobs to robots. That might be the reason why the bigger part of the population is rather sceptical about artificial intelligence, blockchain, machine learning and robotics.

Sally, on the other hand, advocates that the tech can help enable positive change in the society and showcases for it. When speaking about Blockchain, VR/AR an AI machine learning, she states that the optimal benefits come from all the disruptive technologies coming together.

Blockchain for Social Impact

Blockchain technologies have deep transformative potential far beyond cryptocurrencies and FinTech to sectors as diverse as supply chain, healthcare, public sector, energy, music, and law. Blockchain basically affords application in every industry where trust and security are critical. “This field is young, vibrant and dynamic and it’s exciting to be working with bleeding edge start-ups, established but transitioning organizations and government and academia too. I see dynamic opportunities for change in emerging markets and to harness blockchain for social impact benefits, aligned to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals,” Sally Eaves explains in an interview to Coin Rivet.

In the TED talk she also introduces slightly her work for Shivom, a leading health-tech company focused on developing the world’s latest DNA data and healthcare services platform powered by blockchain technology.

Working towards Positive Technological Impact

In her inspirational talk, she stresses that it doesn’t have to be high tech in order to have high impact. As a collaborator and mentor in many maker spaces, hacklabs and fab labs she praises the “show me how to fix it, don’t fix it for me” mentality. Usually set in quite deprived areas, those spaces permit the sharing of knowledge and cultivation of peer-to-peer mentality. But most importantly, those spaces permit many different areas of digital innovation to be practiced alongside one another, as well as alongside other creative disciplines.

According to Sally Eaves, this type of spaces are vital in order to bring together experience and creativity, because “At the end of the day, the greatest technological innovations come around to creative imagination”.

Challenges on the way of change

Sally acknowledges the challenges related to data privacy, data protection, transparency, tension on social media, but believes that despite them we can optimize the benefit for the greater good. One of our main objectives now is to raise awareness of different initiatives and projects with purpose.

Speaking about future tendencies it is important to keep in mind that younger generations have different expectations for their day jobs and often find the lack of purpose discouraging. Technology could help us align profit within a business with purpose.

Sally also stresses the importance of role models, alongside a strong focus on STEM and STEAM to encourage, skill and inspire the leaders of the future. That is where longer term sustainable change will be driven from. Now that we have already been sharing the knowledge and inspiring each other, it is time to focus on the applied: how we can make our ideas into reality.

Apart from being a very inspirational speaker, Sally Eaves also happens to be one of the professors of Zigurat’s Global Master’s in Blockchain Technologies.

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