Digital Airplanes

by | Jan 6, 2022 | ICT4D, Ideas |

digital risk and airplanes

There is the potential for harm everywhere and yet we carry on. We still cross streets, drive cars, board airplanes, and eat food. Each of these carries a certain amount of potential for harm. However, we have become adept at managing risk for ourselves (or believing we are). Yet, risk management is never a solo affair.

While we make decisions about crossing the street, vehicles have brakes, drivers should have passed a test, and there are rules of the road. All of these together help to manage the risk. Airplanes are slightly different as once we board and are flying there is little we can do.

Digital transformation is no different. It comes with risk and potential for harm. And similar to airplanes, we often approach the risks and harms with a similar attitude. ‘It won’t happen to me.’ Even though we know that if our personal data gets leaked the potential for harm is high. The likelihood of the risk is low, but the impact (or potential for harm) is high. Most of us tend to assume it won’t affect us.

We take this same view into our work. And because the risk is perceived to be low, we view awareness raising and digital literacy amongst the people who we serve as a luxury. And luxuries are rarely implemented. Additionally, many of the vulnerable groups we work with trust us. Or that’s what we tell ourselves. However, trust can sometimes look like fear or powerlessness – like I feel when I board a plane or think about my relationship with Google or Facebook.

I’m not sure where that leaves us other than awareness raising and digital literacy are not luxury activities, they are essential.

Photo by Loic Leray


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