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Fulfilling the promise of the digital age

As the only British winner at the Global ICT Excellence Awards at last week’s World IT Congress, Seth Finegan from Informed Solutions reflects on the challenges and opportunities facing the tech industry.

It’s been over a decade since I was last in India and the pace of change has been phenomenal. Many cities are unrecognisable and have been on an incredible economic journey driven by technology.

India is not alone in this respect, as disruptive change is sweeping across the world. In his opening address to the 22nd World IT Congress at Hyderabad, Prime Minister Narendra Modi acknowledged this, linking technological progress to the Indian philosophy of ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbaka’, the Sanskrit phrase for ‘the world is one family’. It was hard to escape the sense of inter-connectedness and global opportunity that technology has become synonymous for.  

 

"We want to ensure that technology is firmly established as a force for good by serving people not displacing them"

“Technology, if used well for public good,” added Modi, “can deliver lasting prosperity to mankind and a sustainable future for our planet.”

Setting the tone for the next three days, the spirit of Modi’s vision was evident in many of the debates and subsequent discussion, which frequently looked at what we need to do to make sure technology is a force for good.

As the sole British winner, we were very humbled and proud to pick up an award in WITSA’s Emerging Digital Solutions category, being rewarded for our digital transformation work with government. This includes delivering a digital democracy solution for England’s electoral boundary review and digital claims portals which make it easier and less stressful for innocent victims of violent crime and terrorism to receive compensation.  

Staying true to Modi’s vision of delivering for the public good, we want to ensure that technology is firmly established as a force for good by serving people not displacing them.  

This means ensuring that disruptive technologies like AI, automation, IoT and Robotics have a positive impact on society.

More than ever, technology is on the brink of transforming society, particularly in areas such as health, wellbeing and the environment. But we will only realise the full benefits for people and communities if we’re mindful and diligent in its application.

The fact this is a global challenge was made abundantly clear in Hyderabad this week. But it’s been extremely encouraging to see the UK, helped enormously by techUK, shape and lead this debate.

 

"India is poised to become the second largest market for IT by the end of the year"

Our Government is pushing forward on techUK’s recommendation to set up a Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation and this stands to give us a significant advantage in developing and guiding ethical innovation. With the Prime Minister committing to making the UK world leaders in AI, our global reputation for technology will undoubtedly help British companies take advantage of increased global trading opportunities.

The Department of International Trade is also committed to this and they should be congratulated for organising a Northern Powerhouse India trade mission last week to coincide with the World IT Congress.

India is poised to become the second largest market for IT by the end of the year and with IT spending about to jump dramatically due to a number of government initiatives, British technology could have a key role to play in meeting India’s ambitions as the world’s fastest growing G-7 economy.

Back at the World IT Congress in Hyderabad, the debate continued on how technology can help solve 21st century problems. Sophia, the world’s first humanoid robot, who has been granted citizenship in Saudi Arabia, took to the stage and to polite applause told delegates that humans shouldn’t fear robots.

Unfortunately there are many that still need to be convinced. And while we should not be afraid of the technological revolution, there are still more questions to be answered and more work to be done to ensure the enormous potential of disruptive change leaves no one behind. 

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@InformedTweet Fantastic talk discussing how the future of tech and investment in new skills can #supercharge18 the Northern econo… https://t.co/DN8wXyqLb0
@InformedTweet Looking forward to the start of #Supercharging18 with @techUK pic.twitter.com/5lC1eVpltA
@InformedTweet Our Global CEO @ElizabethTVega is looking forward to participating in the expert Panel Discussion: 'What does this… https://t.co/GnGUyjPPZ4
@InformedTweet Tech is boosting productivity in new areas: we are looking forward to sharing our experience of digital transformat… https://t.co/Q0Q1vDicNm
@InformedTweet Looking forward to the start of the first GOV Design Manchester meetup #govdesign #gds pic.twitter.com/QBXhNkInuS
@InformedTweet Fantastic evening at the Altrincham and Sale Chamber of Commerce Awards dinner last night. Brilliant event and deli… https://t.co/1e7YOEnui5
@InformedTweet Great experience working with the Shell Geomatics community today in Rijswijk and the global teams who joined via v… https://t.co/oxzKkEoqoV
@InformedTweet We are celebrating Ada Lovelace, whose 1842 article describing the 'Analytical Engine' included insights into the p… https://t.co/4VX5PmnA9O
@InformedTweet We're excited to be attending the UNSW Diversity Showcase today! #UNSWDS18 pic.twitter.com/KaTpG5nTDP
@InformedTweet Just gearing up for the afternoon session at ScotSoft2018, looking at building great digital organisations for Scot… https://t.co/c79t2vVF0y
@InformedTweet A great picture of our UK CEO Seth Finegan, Her Majesty’s Lord Lieutenant for Great Manchester, Mr. Warren J. Smith… https://t.co/mHit61NCV5
@InformedTweet Our Graduate Charities Initiative Group has raised £230.82 for @JeansforGenes! Thanks also to Global CEO… https://t.co/VGpblsG49i
@InformedTweet Enjoying a delicious lunch in celebration with our clients, friends and colleagues! @TheQueensAwards pic.twitter.com/G4ethxO21v
@InformedTweet We are all very excited to welcome the Lord Lieutenant of Greater Manchester, Warren James Smith, to present us wit… https://t.co/OTCesWgpge
@InformedTweet Our CEO Seth Finegan, leading off a round table on Digital Transformation and AI as part of our Queen's award cele… https://t.co/7c9Wl0qa5S
@InformedTweet Today we are supporting @JeansforGenes with the Informed team. Half a million children living in the UK have a gene… https://t.co/dhip0NY0q8
@InformedTweet Our London team is joining in too... #NationalCodingWeek pic.twitter.com/MrkatiA9zY
@InformedTweet To celebrate #NationalCodingWeek we wanted to demonstrate the breadth of our #DigitalSkills, and the coding languag… https://t.co/u1nfl5uRNf
@InformedTweet Celebrating #NationalCodingWeek with our outstanding team of technical experts! pic.twitter.com/k2Zd5hI2Ar
@InformedTweet We are proud that Informed Solutions, utilising its Queen’s Award-winning Digital Platform, InformedCONSULT©, has h… https://t.co/fdbBbXzhdV
@InformedTweet Great to hear the focus on collaboration and partnerships - the whole is great than the sum of the parts.… https://t.co/KPRxeGJok4
@InformedTweet Great to hear @digital_nsw keen to form partnerships with industry to mature #digital capability and services acros… https://t.co/PGU621Mahp
@InformedTweet Well done #Shaehoward for bringing together a great line up of speakers today for the NSW #digitalmarketplace .
@InformedTweet Really insightful analysis from Kevin Noonan @Ovum about the importance of the 'experience' of moving to the cloud.… https://t.co/u8Ib5RATxW
@InformedTweet Good to hear that #data is at the core of achieving real outcomes across NSW Government's 12 policy priorities. @InformedTweet gets that.
@InformedTweet Thanks @theiAwards and @AIIA_ICT . @InformedTweet is indeed pleased to be a long standing sponsor of this terrific… https://t.co/f6ZxZTQq0N
@InformedTweet Fantastic article on the value of data interoperability, written by our colleague James Miller, has been picked up… https://t.co/fN3dMPyldY
@InformedTweet "There is an obligation for public and private sector to work together to deliver digital government" Welcome views… https://t.co/1yUTGRUxY1
@InformedTweet Do you really understand the value of your data and the cost of not fully exploiting it? Great article on the benef… https://t.co/gh5NSTrEPy
@InformedTweet We are delighted to have been accredited to the latest international environmental management standard ISO 14001:20… https://t.co/GQi4a2SeoS
@InformedTweet Innovation is contagious - and we just can't contain our excitement for today's winners #iAwards #innovationhttps://t.co/GJyO9VjYaK
@InformedTweet Congratulations to the AIIA on their 25th birthday pic.twitter.com/yM28ru3BpP
@InformedTweet Great to be at @Techingov_AU . Come meet the team here at the #GreatBritain stand. pic.twitter.com/7rXmuOfxHU
@InformedTweet We have achieved accreditation to the latest international quality standard ISO 9001:2015, making us among the firs… https://t.co/dbxq0BnLyF
@InformedTweet Delighted to get a mention here. We very much enjoyed being part of the #northernpowerhouse trade mission to India… https://t.co/Q3jZJJ7G4V

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