Published on February 16th, 2020 | by Bibhuranjan


Technology Making Us More Socially Responsible — Here’s How

Technology can be a controversial field. It seems that for every story about a new gadget that will make your life easier, there’s one about how a tech company is misusing its customers’ data. It can be a confusing time as a consumer.

On the one hand, technology is making every aspect of life more convenient, but on the other, it seems to damage people or their livelihoods in some contexts. As a tech consumer, it leaves you with a couple of questions. Is technology good or bad for society? Depending on the answer, what does that mean for you as a user?

For as many downsides as technology may have, it’s doing a lot of good in the world too. Modern tech can bring people closer together and make it easier to care for one another. Here are five ways technology is making us more socially responsible:

1. Cleaning Energy

Part of being socially conscious is ensuring a safer future for the coming generations. One of the most prevalent aspects of protecting the future is environmental sustainability, which also happens to be a notable area improved by technology.

Technological advances are making clean energy affordable and available. New technologies like advanced electric cars or energy-efficient home appliances make it easier than ever to live sustainably.

Environmental initiatives by companies like General Electric are leading the way in sustainability. GE’s long-term Ecomagination strategy seeks to generate $20 billion from green products. This focus on eco-friendly technology allows you to lower your carbon footprint without going out of your way.

2. Optimizing Charity

Another area that technology is helping us in is charitable giving. Donating to nonprofits can be an easy way to invest in others’ wellbeing, but traditional giving methods carry some risks. You might end up donating to an inefficient or even harmful cause, or the charity could be embezzling the funds.

Charity-minded tech companies are working to eliminate these concerns. Services like secure mobile giving tools or crowdfunding sites let donors know where their money is going and help nonprofits track donations. On top of the added security and organization, these technologies make donating a straightforward, streamlined process so anyone can give comfortably.

3. Fostering Empathy

Some critics of modern technology say it can make people insensitive towards others. The relative safety and anonymity of sitting behind a screen may tempt people to speak hurtfully about and to other users.

If you’ve ever perused the comments section of a social media post, you’ve seen this firsthand. But just as technology has the power to put up walls, it has the potential to break them down too. Innovations like virtual reality (VR) can help people gain a well-rounded understanding of the lives and troubles of those around them.

In 2018, the VR company Jaunt joined forces with the alcoholic beverage giant Diageo to create an immersive story about the consequences of binge drinking called “Decisions: Party’s Over.” The interactive campaign gave users a first-person view of the risks of this behavior. Over 80% of the viewers agreed the VR platform made the experience more impactful.

4. Increasing Transparency

Technology can help you understand others’ experiences, and it also allows you to recognize the impact of your own actions. The trackable and accessible nature of digital data makes it easier than ever to see how different things connect.

Services like Thomson Reuter’s CLEAR can show you the criminal or unethical connections a company might have. Technology like this keeps you — and businesses — from getting involved in wrongful activities you might not have known about otherwise. The threat of exposure from these services can also force companies to remain transparent about all their dealings.

5. Enhancing Security

Technology can make the world a safer place. While concerns over data breaches or privacy infringements may make you doubt technology’s security, it offers several examples of how it protects people’s wellbeing and information.

Apps like CityCop allow users to report criminal activity and monitor crime statistics in an area. People within a community can use these platforms in a collaborative effort to increase the safety of their neighborhoods.

On the data side of things, technologies like blockchain allow for secure, transparent transactions and transfers. As more services take advantage of these systems, the digital landscape will become far safer.

Using Technology Responsibly

Of course, it’s not enough for socially responsible technology to merely exist. If you want to become more socially conscious with the help of technology, you’ll have to use it responsibly. If we continue to use gadgets and services to harm each other, more tech won’t fix the problem.

The first step in becoming a more responsible tech user is by demanding higher standards from companies. For better or for worse, businesses respond to social pressure. If the public holds companies accountable for their actions, they’ll likely act more responsibly.

Sometimes it helps to slow down your tech usage too. Seeking constant upgrades can lead to faster, increased production, which can harm the environment and manufacturing workers. A tech company will only ever be as socially responsible as their customer base.

We shouldn’t rely on technology to make us better people. But with collaboration and forward-thinking, we can create a world in which technology fosters healthy social behavior and vice versa.

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Editorial Officer, I'm an avid tech enthusiast at heart. I like to mug up on new and exciting developments on science and tech and have a deep love for PC gaming. Other hobbies include writing blog posts, music and DIY projects.

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