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A Better World: Next-Gen Tech for Social Good

by: The CI&T Team

Two young women outside a desert village smiling looking at a tablet.
Posted on Feb 26, 2018

The excitement and anticipation is building as SXSW Interactive gets closer. It’s just a couple of weeks away, and CI&T is looking forward to hosting a day of panels and fun with the Lean Digital Speedway. As you plan your itinerary, here’s a sneak peek of what’s you can expect from CI&T.
 

Don’t miss our panel: A Better World: Next-Gen Tech for Social Good
 

On Monday, March 12th at 9:30am-10:30am at the Courtyard Marriott, Rio Grande Room (2nd Floor), please join environmental and social responsibility thought leaders Royce Wells, Head of Social and Environmental Programs at Comrade, Killian Moote, Project Director for KnowTheChain.org at Humanity United, Sarah Potts, Head of Marketing and Communications at Thorn, and Bennett Wetch, VP of Tech Innovation at Fair Trade Certified, who will explore A Better World: Next-Gen Tech for Social Good.

  • Learn more about how next-gen technology can play a role in amplifying a cause or mission 
  • Hear about the most natural ways to encourage others to participate
  • Discover how to avoid stumbling blocks along the way
     

Why change matters
 

Let’s suppose that tonight you could choose your dream. And let’s say you dreamed about your ideal world. What would it look like? How would people treat each other? And how would businesses behave?
 

As the voices calling for change and social good become louder, business leaders are asking themselves these very questions. And next-gen technologies like blockchain, AI and machine learning have opened our eyes to the infinite potential for technology to improve people’s lives.
 

But with so many powerful tools at are our disposal, where to begin?
 

For the intrepid do-gooder, look no further than the many organizations that are already harnessing the power of next-gen technology to bring about a positive change. In fact, there’s never been a better time to take advantage of new technologies to affect change.
 

Thorn: Using technology to protect children from sexual abuse
 

The rise of the Internet has completely changed our lives - mostly for the good. But there has also been an explosion in child sexual abuse material, much of which is spread across the Internet. By some estimates, the number of child sexual abuse files reviewed by the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children has grown from 450,000 files in 2004 to 25 million in 2015.
 

In response, Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore took the initiative to co-found Thorn, a non-profit that has married the worlds of Big Data, law enforcement and NGOs to help protect children from sexual abuse. For example, its first product, Spotlight, was designed to accelerate victim identification and help law enforcement make the best use of that critical window of time to find child sex trafficking victims. Reportedly, law enforcement officials that use Spotlight have experienced a 43% reduction in their investigation time.
 

Thorn is also working with tech giants Facebook, Google, and others to create machine learning solutions that identify and prevent abuse. In January, Thorn and Uber also announced their intention to explore how machine learning solutions could track drivers who may be involved in the spread of human trafficking.
 

Humanity United: Systems thinking to solve problems at scale
 

Recognizing a problem and then finding a solution can sometimes feel like untying a proverbial Gordian Knot. But Humanity United has taken on the challenge to bring new approaches to global problems. This non-profit is using “systems thinking” to help solve seemingly intractable problems like human trafficking, forced labor, conflict resolution, and so much more.
 

According to Humanity United, systems thinking involves viewing the world as a series of complex interconnections that each influence one another. A systems practice uses this approach to better understand complex environments and create solutions at scale.
 

For example, rather than focusing narrowly on forced labor in Thailand’s fishing industry, Humanity United uses systems thinking to understand how corporate supply chains contribute to this issue, and how they can be part of the solution.
 

It has also launched a $23 million venture fund to invest in companies like Provenance, a technology platform that harnesses the power of blockchain to help brands, suppliers, and stakeholders trace products along their journey from producer to consumer—thereby ensuring the integrity of their supply chains.
 

The convergence of good: Where business meets social
 

Efforts to improve the collective wellbeing of society have not been limited to nonprofits. Companies like Walmart and IBM are not only looking for ways to promote social good, they are finding innovative ways to embed concerns about social good in the way businesses operate on a daily basis. For example, IBM and Walmart have launched Blockchain Food Safety Alliance in China so companies like JD.com, one of China’s biggest retailers, can benefit from greater efficiency, transparency, and authenticity in their food supply chains. By dramatically reducing the time to track the origins of products, initiatives such as this aren’t just good for society, they are good business.
 

Meanwhile, Dallas, TX-based ISN has grown its business by using the latest technologies to help companies maintain the highest workplace safety standards. Its proprietary online platform, ISNetworld, is a solution for companies involved in heavy industries that want to hire and manage contractors with a demonstrated commitment to workplace safety. Founded in 2001, ISN currently supports more than 530 companies in capital-intensive industries, and more than 65,000 contractors and suppliers worldwide.
 

Why companies should be concerned about social good
 

You’ve undoubtedly noticed the growing interest in enshrining values-based decision making and morality into the way companies conduct business. With the advent of technology, consumers have a voice. Moreover, many companies are facing the commoditization of their industries. What distinguishes one bank from another, for example? A commitment to social good is one way to stand out from the crowd.
 

Larry Fink, CEO of Blackrock, in his “Sense of Purpose” letter to CEOs famously wrote:
…[S]ociety increasingly is turning to the private sector and asking that companies respond to broader societal challenges. Indeed, the public expectations of your company have never been greater. Society is demanding that companies, both public and private, serve a social purpose. To prosper over time, every company must not only deliver financial performance, but also show how it makes a positive contribution to society. Companies must benefit all of their stakeholders, including shareholders, employees, customers, and the communities in which they operate.


Impossible is nothing
 

Muhammad Ali once reminded the world that “impossible is a dare.” And with all of the exciting technological advancement in front of us, it often feels like nothing is impossible. In fact, it’s safe to say that almost every solution to the problems facing our world will rest in our ability to leverage technology to bring about change and promote social good.

 

Join us to learn more. Click here to learn more about our “A Better World: Next-Gen Tech for Social Good” session and RSVP for all events here.