If there is one theme that would make or break this decade is impact investing, or investing in social, economic, environmental (or ESG) efforts that matter for our present and future. It is safe to say that we can make no progress in any of these issues without leveraging knowledge and technology in a way that makes life better.
This is because, today more than ever, technology is an integral part of our lives as opposed to a side topic. The question today is why do we need a leap of faith and invest in leveraging technology to build a better present and future?
Disruption is coming
One of the toughest challenges facing a smooth embrace of advanced technologies is terminology. Disruption linguistically and in context implies challenging and changing the system of status quo. Therefore, the mere mention of how technology advancement is radically transforming us and our lives invites the suspicion of people and existing systems.
Let alone the fact that in Arabic language for example disruption is associated with strongly shaking a system.
This is why the first investment humanity needs to make is an investment in language - we need to agree on a definition of disruption that alleviates concerns of all stakeholders and brings back the focus to leveraging technology as a mean to achieve social, economic and environmental ends.
The Sultanate of Oman is one of the first countries in the region to development a national digital strategy related to digital transformation more than a decade ago.
For the past two years, the new Ministry of Transport, Communications and Information Technology has turned this strategy into a detailed Digital Transformation Plan with stakeholder focused paths, initiatives, and projects.
“Inclusive digital participation is key to leveraging technology to achieve our common goals,” had rightly said Dr Ali al Shaithani, Under-Secretary of the Ministry of Transport, Communications and Information Technology for Communications and Information Technology in a public engagement gathering on digital transformation.
Keeping the faith
One matter that will clearly make the difference is realising that we have what it takes to excel and lead in the field of emerging technologies.
Our present and future generations have the knowledge and skills to leverage technologies without fearing that these tools will dominate our lives. We can no longer afford to be ambivalent about whether we should embrace technologies that we witnessed their positive impact of our health, relationships, and work during the pandemic.
Artificial Intelligence contributed to developing our vaccines, social media platforms helped check on our loved ones, and online applications contributed not only to remote working but also building the foundations for a future of work.
All of this can only be done when we invest in believing that we can adapt technologies to our favour, without fearing advancement or depending on it completely.
This faith is the pre-requisite to a true digital transformation where a society builds a sustainable planet for present and future generations.