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Tuesday, 19 May 2015

new #tech and the power to create #RSAptc

I eventually got round to watching and listening to this RSA lunchtime session from last Thursday which was part of the launch of a report (see tweet below) on this subject

How can we enable social mobility through technology? Check out our new report

What follows below is my summary of the main points from the lunchtime session - or to get a bit more detail you can watch the video of the session below or read a rsa blog on some headlines from the report

The main messages I heard form the session were

1) technology can concentrate power in a few hands or be a mechanism to help create more equality of opportunity

2) some 30% of the population need help in using technology to their best advantage - to develop their knowledge, find information, stay in touch, develop professional networks and benefit their business

3) do we want networks where all benefit from being part of them or ones where its everybody for themselves?

and in a bit more detail - the session kicked off with Katie from google doing a brief 4min intro which touched on google's interest in this subject.  Katie also mentioned google's digital garage work in Leeds

Anthony Painter, the RSA’s Director of Policy and Strategy (& co-author of the report with Louise Bamfield ) then said a few words about the report.  Anthony talked about:

- how technology can concentrate power in a few hands or spread power/knowledge to many

- how technology (e.g. robots) will soon be significantly affecting those whose work involves routine tasks - so how are we equipping lorry and taxi drivers to move on when driverless car technology is ok'd for use on our roads?

- a survey RSA did as part of the report showed that generally people have a +'ve view of technology but are concerned about who can use/access it and who can't

- the report identifies 5 "tribes" of technology users

Wow, what a potential - Let's tap it & make a positive difference!

3 of the tribes = 60% of the population

‘confident creators’ (11% of the population) who are very good at using new technology to develop their knowledge, find information, stay in touch, develop professional networks and benefit their business

the ‘held back’ (20% of the population) who can and do use new technology but who also need help and support to use it better to help realise their ambitions

the ‘safety firsters’ (30% of the population) who use new technology mainly for information and entertainment and probably don't realise what opportunities they're missing out on (and risks from change they're not seeing)

(note the remaining 2 tribes are the 'comfortable' and 'connected' retired who together = 39% of the population and who will be covered in future reports)

Anthony then talked a bit about how access to the new technology needed both social mobility and inclusion.  He also gave some examples of the impact of this new technology in terms of access to learning and skills and knowledge

another example he gave was .... 

The UK should replicate 's Cities of Learning project - encouraging new skills via open badges

Labour MP for Walthamstow Stella Creasy then said a few things

- about the impact of tech on our lives already (data from 2011 - 1/3rd of all UK divorce filings mention facebook - and this for a platform only available in 2007)

. says it's not a given that technological change is progressive or inclusive.

and Stella then mentioned some ideas below the technology issue

assets people have access to - traditionally we just consider £ as the key asset - but we should also include assets like how they were "taught" about how to relate to others

skills like confidence and resilience - young adults now will face a degree of change in the workplace their parents did not - e.g. they are likely to have 7 jobs over their life - 2 of which have not yet been invented - so they will need to be far more adaptable

the ethos we have - do we want networks where all benefit from being part of them or ones where its everybody for themselves

Equality movements aren't about special pleading. EVERYONE benefits from more equal, diverse, inclusive societies

In conversations between Anthony & Stella and in answering audience questions the following points that were made struck me

- how the family environment can give (or not) people somewhere where they can safely fail, where they have security, social support and learn soft skills and resilience

- how institutions will need to adapt to all of this in terms of current power and control structures

- we win when we win together and avoid wasted potential

- its not about consultation - its about getting people engaged and involved

- its matters to me we don't leave people behind

- we know have an expectation that the world will shape to us

- its about recognising there are a variety of ways of thinking and that not everybody things in the same way
"For me, politics has always been about being angry about inequality but trying to do something about it," says

- its about a new form of power - power from the network - e.g. 7 days for stow

 the skills they've been given in how to relate to others and themselves

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