Late last year we convened our community to explore and define displacement in tech. People often think of tech displacement solely in the context of AI but it encompasses much more. For example the impact on basic human rights (such as access to housing or healthcare) and other universal needs (such as the need for safety and connection)
So displacement is a challenging concept. That's why we wanted to collaborate to shape our learning into a useful decision-making framework. We've called this our New Economy Model (NEM).
Primarily aimed at software developers and designers NEM aligns with the creation of user stories. We hope that using the NEM as part of the software development process will help challenge and inspire makers to develop their tech in a more considered way.
For example, would AirBnB have been more considered in their governance and technology using such a tool? Would it have helped them think through the serious externalities resulting from the use of their platform? Would they have considered rising house prices and unavailability of affordable rent for some sectors of society?
Increasingly those who work in the tech industry are becoming aware of the harms their work can cause in society and are taking action. Thousands of Google workers recently forced the company to end its involvement in a military programme using AI to decipher video footage used for drone strikes. So using tools like NEM can evidence that your company has an ethical approach to development and truly considers the impact of your technology.
But neither are we naive to the challenges ahead. Depressingly a study late last year in Science Daily suggested that the existence of a code of ethics does not influence software developers. So we want to take a different approach to contribute something which may be more meaningful.
Would AirBnB have been more considered in their governance and technology using such a tool? Would it have helped them think through the serious externalities resulting from the use of their platform? Would they have considered rising house prices and unavailability of affordable rent for some sectors of society?
Building on the work of engineer Anne Currie with contributions from Doteveryone we’re going to be actively contributing to the Ethical Git Hub repository she has created. Working with our supporters Luminate and Coop Foundation we hope to spread the word widely in the developer community that there are lots of resources in Git Hub to help them think through the big ethical questions that technology faces.
What's Next - Date for your Diary!
Over the coming months, we’ll be rolling this out across our networks, but at The Federation and Noisy Cricket, we’re looking for organisations willing to help us test, refine and evidence the impact of our NEM tool.
We are running an event on 5th March to bring together all our findings and introduce the tool. There'll be talks from Emer Coleman (Technology Engagement Director, Co-op Digital), Lauren Coulman (Founder, Noisy Cricket), Julian Tait (Founder, Open Data Manchester), Shelley (Founder, Digital Life Skills Co.) and Michelle Brook (Democratic Society) and there'll also be an opportunity to sign up early to help us test the tool.
You can sign up for the Displacement in Tech and The New Economy Impact Model event here.
To find out more, contact Lauren Coulman.