👋 Goodbye 2018. Here’s to making 2019 the year Responsible Technology becomes the new normal 🎉

Hannah Kitcher

We’re saying goodbye to 2018. What a year it has been!

One word to sum it up? “Techlash”. And that’s not just us saying it, it’s one of the Financial Times’ Words of the Year.

Silicon Valley has had its fair share of scandals this year, and the need for Responsible Technology has become a public and political conversation — not just a topic for business or academia.

People, Power and Technology 2018 Reports

Doteveryone published two People, Power and Tech reports in the Spring, shining a light on the UK’s digital attitudes and understanding.

The reports highlighted public feelings of disempowerment towards technology and showed most people have low levels of understanding about data and how it’s used. We’ll be re-running this research in 2019. We’re also planning a new survey which aims to understand how Britain’s technology workforce feels about the impact of the products and services it creates.

And who can forget those Facebook Congress hearings that took place in April and how they showed it’s not just the public who lack understanding, but political representatives too? It’s vital that governments and leaders understand and can respond to technology in real time, and a sound regulatory landscape is a must-have for a modern functioning democracy.

As our initial research found, the current regulatory ecosystem does not meet the needs of a digital society. We have since gone on to identify the need for a co-ordinating body, an Office for Responsible Technology, which would have three main functions: to empower regulators, inform policymakers and the public and support people to seek redress.

Since then, we’ve been building a coalition of supporting organisation who have endorsed our proposals and will continue to help shape and deliver the beginnings of a robust regulatory landscape in the UK, and more widely, into 2019.

But regulation is just one step towards making technology more responsible. Business needs to change too. During 2018 employees at Apple, Google, Microsoft and other tech companies have hit headlines with their protests about some of the practices going on within the industry.

It’s still possible to innovate if you’re not moving fast and breaking things

At Doteveryone we believe it’s still possible to innovate if you’re not moving fast and breaking things. Over the past year, we’ve been making, testing and refining a set of workshops and assessments that bring to life the context, consequences, and contribution of technologies.

We’re excited to start publishing these in the new year and are lining up a series of workshops with teams who want help to express their values and understand more about the social impact of the products and services they’re shipping. In the meantime, here are some tips to help you get started.

Responsible technology puts people and society first

Responsible technology puts people and society first. So the last piece of the puzzle for us is showing what better looks like. Some prototypes we’ve worked on this year include:

  1. new tools for gig-economy workers
  2. a service for reporting online price discrimination
  3. a shared digital platform for charities

We know one area we know that is ripe for improvement, is the system for seeking redress for harms people may have experienced in the digital world. So we’re currently working with Resolver to find ways to make it easier for more people to say Yes to Redress! And as the public debate about automation ramps us, we’re looking at how care can be better valued and understood in a world that is becoming increasingly led by technology. There’ll be more to report from that project in the Spring.

So despite the 2018 “techlash”, there’s much to be optimistic about as we enter 2019.

And we hope you can join us at our conference Responsible Tech 2019: The New Normal on Thursday 31 January at the British Library.

The day will bring together people working in business, tech policy, data and ethics to share inspirational and practical ideas to embed responsible technology into day-to-day practice and make this happen.

We’ve now announced the day’s agenda and have a fantastic line-up of confirmed speakers including Jeremy Wright, DCMS Secretary of State, Dr Anne-Marie Imafidon, Co-founder of STEMettes, Veronique Lallier from Hi-Rez studios and named UK’s best boss 2018.

There are still a few early-bird tickets available for attendees from corporates and the government.

Please share with anyone who you think would benefit from attending. And to ensure all voices who want to be part of the conversation are able to be, we have allocated part of our event budget, with thanks to generous support from our sponsors, Bulb, to assist those who might otherwise face barriers in attending. The deadline for applications is 9 am on Monday 7 January 2019 and the application form is available on the event page.

Finally, we’d like to thank everyone who has been part of our 2018. We look forward to seeing you again in the new year and working with more people to help us make Responsible Technology the NEW NORMAL! 💪

👋 Goodbye 2018. Here’s to making 2019 the year Responsible Technology becomes the new normal 🎉 was originally published in Doteveryone on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.