Never before have there been so many investments in technology-based ecosystems that recognize Young people as stakeholders, interconnected and active partners. The cultural, political, and economic forces of youth have been empowered and expanded to make technology outcomes more responsible, equitable and productive for the benefit of society and the planet.
Now, it suffices to understand the impact of the connected youth as a powerful technological force, as a mass consumer and as exponential cultural power holders. However, its power has not been sufficiently recognized and harnessed to achieve more inclusive and equitable technological outcomes.
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Thus, it is time to broaden the discussion and understanding of the technology-related issues around which young people are organizing. Building a responsible agenda will help develop an understanding of the future of technology that young people want to see and the obstacles they face in the organizations in which they work.
Private investors must be clear if they really want to support young people as technology leaders, builders, and makers. If so, they need to understand what they care about and what is stopping them from achieving the change they are working for.
There is an initial perspective to put in place well: recognition that technology has a different impact on the humans who depend on it. This effect varies by socioeconomic class, race, gender, ability, religious identity, and age or generation. As in many fields, technology has a unique impact on the young people who mature alongside it.
Young people are strategically positioned to be leaders in Internet technology and culture. A world shaken by the pandemic is calling for new human relationships with technology, as well as questioning traditional business.
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Young people are not just our future, and in some cases, technology leaders. They are current and future policymakers, civil society leaders, educators, designers, executives, and artists. Everyone will inherit today’s problems and implement tomorrow’s solutions. And on issues embedded with technology such as politics, economics, climate and racial justice, many tend to demand more equity, belonging, and accountability.
For young connected people around the world, cultural strength often lies in the intense ability and tendency to use technology platforms to change conversations. Digital natives are aware of the complex role technology plays in their personal and professional lives; They actively reflect, participate in and shape their digital culture.
In the corporate world, the market must recognize that young people use online platforms to criticize the inequalities that their communities experience in the digital sphere, as well as take advantage of technological tools to achieve their goals in the organization.
This is just the beginning of the impact that young people practicing their technology leadership will have. As we delve into these issues, other examples of young people organizing around a responsible and ethical vision of the technological future will emerge. The important thing is to learn from many of them and find ways to expand – more and more – their true role focused on responsible technology.
Haroldo is the co-founder and investor in 3 New B Capital SA. He was Professor and Director of Research, Development and Innovation at Fortaleza University and President of Fundação de Amparo a Pesquisa do Ceará
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