Humanitech, an initiative of Australian Red Cross and an early driver of the Trust Alliance, recently released a report titled Future of Vulnerability: Humanity in the Digital Age.
The report is a resource for civil society, technologists and decision-makers to explore the complex questions about the vulnerabilities frontier technologies can introduce or heighten as well as the opportunities for collaborative exploration to develop and promote ‘humanity first’ approaches to data and technology.
We find ourselves at the crossroads of humanity and technology. It is time to put people and society at the centre of our technological choices. To ensure that benefits are widely shared. To end the cycle of vulnerable groups benefiting least and being harmed most by new technologies. People and civil society must be at the centre of this work, involved in generating insights and developing prototypes, in evidence-based decision-making about impacts, and as part of new ‘business as usual’.
The report establishes the urgency to change the status quo and summarises a growing agenda for change across research, policy and practice towards responsible, inclusive and ethical uses of data and technology. Through six case studies – including the work of the Trust Alliance – the report shows examples of emerging good practice where tools are being used to support dignity, safety and trust for vulnerable groups. Finally, it highlights why civil society-led initiatives such as Humanitech (and the Trust Alliance!) have a vital role to play as brokers and translators across sectors and disciplines and from communities to technologists, researchers and regulators.