There are scenes from films and from our lives that once we see, we can not unsee. The same can be said about experiences. And there are seminal moments in our lives, in stories, in culture, in history, which shift our collective consciousness into action. Henry Dunant could not unseen the horrors of war and the Red Cross was born. The 1984 famine in Ethiopia brought change to humanitarian aid. So did the Rwandan genocide, the Asian Tsunami, the 2010 Haiti earthquake and many more events. Experiences changed people. Changed the system. It was not immediate and not fast, but change did come.
And so perhaps we, too, are living in another shift. Another moment that can not be ‘unseen’. Perhaps the combination of the stories coming from the Rohingya refugee data debacle and the stories arising from Afghanistan will bring another change. It is unlikely to be immediate, fast, or easy. But perhaps change will come.
Is one person or organisation to blame? No and no.
Is technology the enemy? Unlikely.
Is technology the solution? Also unlikely.
Is technology neutral? No.
WIll shiny, new technologies continue to grab our attention and be implemented without considering long term implications? Most likely.
WIll developing good data governance and regulation continue to be much slower than developing new technologies? Most definitely.
Can we learn from history and from others? Also, most definitely.
Will our definitions of what is ‘good’ and ‘appropriate’ differ? Again, most definitely.
Do we know what needs to be done? Not individually, but collectively we know places to start.
Do we know how to change the system? Not individually, but collectively we know places to start.