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  • My talk this afternoon is very much motivated by topics that have dominated so many headlines and also topics off so many talks, conferences, seminars for including, Of course, this one.

  • The first.

  • I think you've heard a lot this morning and also this afternoon about digital disruption, something that we are all having to live with, something that has transformed our lives, transformed the way we do things, transform our relationships with other people, transform our relationships with organizations in our place in society.

  • But the other topic that has dominated so many headlines, and I think it's now dominating very much the topic off political dialogue is the issue off inequality.

  • We live in an age where there now appears to be unprecedented level off inequality, whether you measure it from the point of view off wealth, income disparities between urban areas, rural areas, geographical disparity and so on.

  • And this inequality is obviously creating tensions, conflicts and could very much lead many societies and countries into a full blown political, economic or social crisis.

  • Indeed, I think for the first time in number of decades, the market system or the capitalist system is now being questioned whether it is able to deliver the good life for ordinary people on the issue of inequality is something that now is giving rice to the search for maybe even alternative models or systems off development.

  • 2030 years ago, who would have thought that people will begin to talk about the ideals of socialism again?

  • But it is now here today, dominating the political dialogue in so many countries simply because the degree of inequality has risen very fast.

  • That's why I decided, Why don't we try to make technology a tool to solve the problem of inequality, make technology egalitarian, My focusing in particular on this issue off technology and egalitarianism?

  • Because I believe that we are now.

  • We're now living in a JJ where we have unprecedented tools.

  • The technology has created so many tools at our disposal.

  • Can we use these tools to achieve a more equal society, a better society for everybody?

  • Now, obviously, there are a number of off opportunities that are already being explored and exploited that will help reduce the problem of inequality.

  • So, for instance, in the area of health, we know that technology has now opened up so many possibilities in bringing better health care, maybe two more remote areas having technology that will be able to respond better to the health needs of people, even to identify problems and using data and algorithm, perhaps to prevent outbreak of diseases and so on, just to give you, ah, quick picture of what's going on, say in Thailand now, with all the hell tech companies or the startups, Clearly all of these companies trying to respond to some of the health needs in the various areas of our society, in the area, off the economy and if you think in particular the rural economy, because usually certainly in Thailand, we have always found that rural income farmersincome always the lowest in our society.

  • Again, we now have technology that will help our farmers.

  • There are so many projects now under the heading off smart farmer, so they can deal with the risk, say, from the unpredictable weather that can improve upon the quality of the soil, access to water, maybe creating value from their products.

  • Likewise, in the industrial and service is sector technology is opening up opportunities also for small and medium enterprises in the area off education.

  • Again, we've heard a number of initiatives.

  • I think this morning already about how we can improve upon our education system so that again will bring up the skills, the ability of our people to reach their potential.

  • And yet we also very much aware of what we call the digital divide.

  • Technology is available to society to mankind, but obviously there are gaps.

  • We're all aware of the problems off infrastructure, remote areas to have struggling to have the same kind off.

  • So this is the same kind of access to technology as in the more developed areas.

  • We are also aware that in order to be able to benefit from technology, you need the necessary skills.

  • And again, the skills gap can then exacerbate the degree of inequality when technology becomes available.

  • But what I'm concerned about, the inequality that I'm going to talk about today is not about these issues.

  • It's something that I think it's more fundamental and it's in here in't in the development of technology that we need to be concerned about, because I believe that unless we redesign some of our systems about how we allow technology to play its role in our society, there is a real threat that technology will not be a force for equality but rather can actually contribute to increased inequality.

  • Why is that?

  • Well, it's gonna be quite difficult to summarize it in one word or in one concept.

  • But the nearest that I think I can come too.

  • Is this problem of monopoly?

  • So what I'm saying is strictly it may not be a monopoly.

  • It could be a duopoly.

  • It could be an oligopoly.

  • But the problem is in the structure of our economy, the degree off concentration off economic power has increased, which means more power is now in the hands off fewer people.

  • And there are a number of aspects about the technology that is contributing.

  • Contributing to that.

  • The first is big data because information and data are the most important assets off the new economy, off the digital economy.

  • Who is in possession of big data governments and the big Corporates and who is able to collect most of the information and data again governments and the big Corporates.

  • You yourself, I think all of us here have experienced daily the people taking data about ourselves.

  • Who are they?

  • Government agencies.

  • When you seek apply permissions apply for some benefits for programs.

  • And also, of course, when you're shopping online, you are conducting transactions online.

  • The big Corporates are collecting this data, and they're using that for a number of purposes, maybe commercial purposes.

  • Government agencies obviously have individual and specific purposes for collecting your data, but often this is abused.

  • And there is now ah, riel concern that this a symmetry off power as far as the ability to collect, retain and use information, we'll make our societies even more unequal.

  • I know that there are so many people who have worked in the startups in the area's off education, health, agriculture, trying to help the S Emmys and so on.

  • One of the biggest complaints that have made to me is that they want to have more information, more data.

  • But the people who have the data, mostly government agency, simply will not make them available.

  • And that is holding them back from the ability to provide better service is to the people who need these service is so number one.

  • We need to do something about how we manage data.

  • Who can collect them, who can control them, who could use them and for what purposes.

  • The second aspect off technology, which may be conducive to increased inequality is the problem off the need for networks, physical or virtual?

  • Now, even before the digital age, we have already seen that any industry, any service, is that rely on network.

  • So perhaps telecommunications, power.

  • Those people who control the networks, the pipelines, the infrastructure can often extract so much value because they are in a position off monopoly.

  • Well, in this day, in age off the digital economy again, the people who control the network have incredible power on this is then translated into a reinforcement off people who are in advantageous position already.

  • So we're not just talking about physical network.

  • Think about the digital communities.

  • Think about the social media platforms.

  • Well, I suspect most of you are on Facebook.

  • I think about it.

  • I've heard so many times in the last few years when people become unhappy.

  • Maybe about Facebook's policy.

  • Dude, how much of a choice do they have in shifting away from an entrenched or an established social network or social platform?

  • There isn't that much choice.

  • What we see instead also is that there is more and more consolidation by the people who own these networks to be able to merge with other platforms to create an even bigger platform for themselves.

  • Just like in the offline world, many producers are frustrated that they make very good products.

  • But in order to reach consumers, they either have to rely on the modern retail network again in the hands of the few, or now, maybe the digital network, increasingly also in the hands of the few.

  • This structure of the economy is not one that will help us achieve greater equality in our society.

  • The third, this one is actually created by governments and by loss, that is, we have given one, not Polis, Tick writes in the form of intellectual property rights, two people who invent now.

  • Obviously, I am very well aware that this system is in place to give incentives for people to engage in research, to invent, to innovate, because they need to have their returns.

  • I'm not arguing for no intellectual property rights, but I am pointing out that the current regime of intellectual property rights protection often times that's not actually achieve its purpose.

  • Many people in the health sector are frustrated that Peyton's become obstacles for trying to do further research, to perhaps invent or discover new drugs on.

  • We also see, I wouldn't say abuse but the use off intellectual property rights, which tries basically to just retain monopoly rights.

  • So we have old drugs, small changes, longer lifetime for patents.

  • Now all of this can hold development back and is clearly just creating rents.

  • All value for people who have those monopoly rights and with the areas of research are taking place again.

  • We have to question why whether these researchers will actually help the majority of people.

  • Why take hills again?

  • As an example, we now have a lot of money and resources being poured in to do ah, research.

  • Maybe what would be called precision medicine.

  • What would be called service is that our customized to specific people may be using the study of genomes and so on.

  • Now, just one easy question.

  • Who do you think we'll be able to afford?

  • Those kinds of service is mostly it will be the wealthy and the well off.

  • Now my 12.

  • It's also motivated by observations.

  • In the past, when we have had famines, when we have had famines in the past.

  • People who have done research on this discovered that in those places where people are actually dying because there is because they cannot eat, they don't have any food to eat.

  • In those very areas, there is often a surplus of food.

  • And even today you know, some countries throw out 1/3 of their food.

  • Did you know that while there is still chronic hunger and undernourishment for so many people in the world, why is that?

  • Because basically, food does not go to the hungry.

  • Where does food go?

  • It goes, do the people who can afford it?

  • We must not allowed technology to follow the same route.

  • We must try to redesign a new system to make sure that the technology that is available to us can serve everybody, not just the few.

  • So just a few quick ideas first, to deal with big data.

  • This principle off open data must be demanded.

  • We should have a clear guidelines about the rules about who can collect data, who can retain data, who can then use that data and for what purposes, with the issue off privacy and so on being protected.

  • This Well, if we have an open data system at the national level, even better at the global level, I'm sure we will unleash so much potential for people who have the knowledge, the skills, the imagination to want to use technology to have access to this kind of data.

  • And it will create a much, much more level playing field so that we are more likely to have an equal society.

  • Second, in terms of network, we have to demand more open access, which means that the owners of the networks, the owners off some kind of advantage must be under some kind of rules to allow others to tap into those resources and networks so that they, too, can create value.

  • Day two can create competition.

  • Indeed, I would argue that the competition laws that we have all over the world on dhe you know, antitrust laws, whatever you want to call them us ah, based on the right rather outdated mode off reality it used to be concerned with, You know, merging and being a dominant player in one market on some solutions that are often proposed by these laws will be to break up monopolies.

  • That's not the kind of problem that we're facing now.

  • We're facing cross industry, cross platform urges.

  • We are dealing with issues of vertical integration.

  • We don't want to break things up.

  • But we want to make sure that the competition is fair, that there is a chance for new players to come in, that everybody can become served, not just the ones that are in a wealthy position.

  • I will need a design for a PR protection and also research allocation, as I say when you shouldn't be taking away incentives.

  • But the incentives may have to take a different form.

  • So, for instance, could it be the case that now governments would have to put in some resources to help with the researchers with the condition that once the innovations actually take place and they could be beneficial two people, they should be made available at low cost?

  • This is very clear in the case of drugs on dhe.

  • If you look at the history it is, there's always been a long fight about making even life saving drugs available to people, but we ran into problems off intellectual property protection.

  • So there you have it, you know you have a problem where there will be so many needs and needy people on the one hand.

  • And some people, obviously with the resource, is with the money.

  • Can we make sure that eventually we can merge?

  • This not allowed technology to create things that just go to the high income wealthy people in high values, but also serving everybody for me?

  • I think it's time that we make technology Galateri in make technology off force for equity and justice.

  • And we must change some of the rules and redesign our systems to make sure that it happens.

  • Thank you.

My talk this afternoon is very much motivated by topics that have dominated so many headlines and also topics off so many talks, conferences, seminars for including, Of course, this one.

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讓我們讓科技變得平等吧|阿比西特-維扎吉瓦|TEDxPunnawithi (Let’s Make Technology Egalitarian | Abhisit Vejjajiva | TEDxPunnawithi)

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    林宜悉 發佈於 2021 年 01 月 14 日
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