Tech driving the world change

Tech driving the world change

Krzysztof Karolczak

Founder, Head of Growth at Inwedo

Michał Grela

Relationship Manager at Future Processing

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The pace of world change is rapid, and technology only increases these processes. Luckily, it’s not a bad news.

Today, technology is more than just an integral part of business success. It’s a driving factor of world change in a broad sense. As a consequence of a digital era, we harness mobile, cloud, AI, ML, data and soon quantum computing not only to improve operations, but also daily life of whole societies, facilitating globalization and translating into GDP.

The pace of change is rapid already, and technology only increases these processes. Luckily, it’s not a bad news. People are leveraging technology to make the world a better place, and more and more companies are on a mission to help grow the global tech for good movement, what is surely worth recognition.

Michał Grela (MG): Hi, my name is Michał and I would like to welcome you to another episode of IT Leadership Insights by Future Processing. Tech driving the world change is the topic of our conversation today. Technology is more than just an integral part of business success. It’s a driving factor of the world change in a broad sense, because as a consequence of a digital era, we harness mobile cloud, ML, AI, you name it, soon quantum computing, not only to improve operations, but also daily lives of whole societies, facilitating globalization and translating into GDP.

The pace of change is rapid already, and technology only increases that process and increases this velocity. But that’s not bad news. People are leveraging technology to make the world a better place and more and more organizations and companies are on a mission to help grow the global tech for good movement, which is surely worth recognition.

My guest today is Krzysztof Karolczak and I’m really looking forward to this conversation. Would you be so kind and tell us a few words about yourself, please?

Krzysztof Karolczak (KK): Yeah, great to be here. Thank you for the invite. I’m Krzysztof Karolczak and founder of Inwedo. That is a software house that helps founders with a mission and vision to bring their impacts to the world so that’s why I’m so excited with the topic here today. I believe there’s a lot to cover.

MG: That’s a great mission and that really corresponds with what we believe here in Future Processing, where we aim to create solutions that empower people and have this positive contribution. I think it’s very, very relevant for us, hence this invitation. But moving towards the discussion – I guess that with technology it is like with, well, every other thing, every stick has two ends. Tech provokes both hopes and fears and there’s definitely a huge potential in technology, but we can’t afford to waste it.

KK: If technology is a stick, I think it’s also on a leverage and all tech companies out there have a responsibility to think where would they put the leverage? I think this is a topic we should have a broader discussion on amongst the tech community. Technology changes the world and we are responsible as every founder, every company, that does operate in this field, how this technology is used. And that this leverage is something that will impact our world and we’re seeing this already happen.

MG: When it comes to prompting fears with technology, there’s this report by McKinsey that I’d like to refer to that says that generally people are thinking rather positively when it comes to long-term benefits of technology, especially when it comes to health, et cetera. Many are also concerned about the negative impact on their lives. In particular, in the areas of job security, safety and trust.

KK: Yeah. I mean, technology is a tool. It’s a hammer that we have in toolboxes and it’s neither good or bad. And in a sense, in this way, it’s not the technology we should be fearing. It’s the direction we’re heading in. I guess we’re in this very pivotal moment in the world history where this growth paradigm is slowly coming to an end, in a sense that we cannot as global economics, continue to sustain a growth.

And we had this target of four, 6% of growth of GDP worldwide and this is something that is probably coming to an end. Technology will be one of the factors that will accelerate this change, or perhaps will help to transition us to this new reality. So, I feel that we have a much broader discussion of things like basic universal income, but this is something that technology will be enabler, but it will not be the driving factor.

MG: Okay. So, although technology is fueling the disruption, it can also smoothen it, paradoxically.

KK: I think so. I mean, if we think of what’s possible now in the world, the technology actually opens this field, broadens it very much. You can think about reaching millions of people with any communication. You can think about transferring value and assets between people that are located in very different places. You can think about algorithms that are autonomous contracts and they actually execute contracts based on trustless algorithm that the blockchain is aspiring to do.

So, actually, tech opens up a broader possibility of things we can do and it’s up to the companies that yield this technology to decide what’s the ethical and moral aspect of what they’re doing in the world and what is the evolution and purpose of their companies.

MG: I think this is a very important thing here, I guess. Especially when it comes to AI and concerns that it can go basically any direction. It can either help us, as it is helping now, or we can end up in a new Matrix-like reality, I guess. Some people definitely fear that. But you’ve already mentioned good few examples of change driven by technology and I think that it’s worth showcasing how done well, this technology leverage is really doing very good things in very different sectors, for example healthcare. Let’s focus on that one first because today we’re not only using technology to support diagnosis and treatment, but also to discover new drugs, to improve longevity, to ease access to health via telemedicine, et cetera. And that’s really relevant now in the pandemic times which we are in at the moment.

KK: Yeah, I think I can share a very personal story. I was diagnosed with melanoma so I had skin cancer that was diagnosed in a very traditional way, with a human being watching every spot on your body. And I feel that we’re already there in technology to have that process fully automated. This is a pattern recognition task that computers are really good at and I believe that the MIT algorithm for spotting changes on the skin are already much, much better than experienced physicians so there are limited areas or niches where this improvement is already showing its effect. I’m looking forward to this positive change in probably many, many people’s life, because then some of these diseases that can be found early on, can be diagnosed and treated without any cost for the society.

MG: Definitely. I also hope the technology will help us there as it’s also helping in other verticals, such as for example, food chain, or production, solar generation, et cetera.

KK: Yeah. That’s something I’m very passionate about. We’ve been working with Swedish partners and Swedish ministry of agriculture to actually enable a process of solar regeneration. Farming is a difficult task and all the people that are bringing our food and making this happen that we can enjoy such a variety of produce on our kitchen tables. They’re doing extremely hard work but it also comes with an impact for the environment and the soil quality is deteriorating everywhere in the world. Actually the regenerative practices are something that is very well known and been there for generations. So, our question was how can technology help here? And I believe technology can be enabler, which connects environmentally aware businesses and farmers and with mathematical models you can actually calculate the CO2 stored in ground through this regenerative practices and enable automatic payments to the farmers for introducing those regenerative practice. We’ve launched a pilot. This will be an open source project, hopefully going beyond Sweden next year and if you take this into scale, if we improve the quality of our soil everywhere in Europe, we’re already 30% done with the combating of the effects of climate change or even reversing some of it. So this is food chain, it is part of the solution and of course, one of the many. I don’t believe there is a silver bullet that will change climate.

MG: No, definitely.

KK: But technology will enable more of those matters to be super effective.

MG: Wonderful. That’s a really interesting example and it’s amazing to hear that such things are happening and I guess it’s a perfect story here because we’ve already proven here that technology is already doing good and it’s used for good but were we to think about the future, many questions arise, like what to expect, how to prepare, how to harness technology for good. What are your predictions?

KK: Yeah, I think we’ll see many disruptions, but this is just extending the number of tools we have in our toolbox. And of course, you’ve mentioned quantum computing. It’s interesting to see how much of our world is based on the paradigm that we cannot unmultiply big numbers. And this will change with quantum computers so a lot around our encryption and security will have to be redesigned, but that’s something we’re already aware of. The most interesting things are things that we’re not really aware of and that will be real disruptions, because every black swan is real black swan when it happens in a way that no one really expects it. A lot has changed in the last nine months, let’s say, or seven months in the world so I believe, there’s not a good way to prepare. What I feel is that the moral responsibility for this technology should be emphasized that it’s in the hands of companies and businesses and not entirely in the hands of governments because we see this tech disruption becoming much, much quicker than any legislative process that is ongoing.

MG: That’s a very interesting point you raised. I think governments are instrumental when it comes to ensuring that this tech transitions are well managed and are crucial when it comes to encouraging this innovative development. But at the same time, it’s individuals and civil society that, at the end of the day, contribute to the overall impact of this management of technology by building this tech for a good movement and for me I see that fitting into this brackets is a new imperative for business leaders and here’s where the emphasis is.

KK: Yeah, definitely. The thing you call tech for good, is actually, probably a more complex landscape of companies reinventing themselves and we see new generation of very conscious business leaders coming in. We’ve lived in a shareholder supremacy world for quite a long time and where the shareholder profits were actually the only evolutionary purpose of company’s existence. Now, there are more and more companies that incorporate, like benefit corporation, B Corps, that incorporate with this interconnectedness in mind. That everything is a living ecosystem, shareholders, stakeholders, main suppliers, employees, they all form an ecosystem where the needs of every part of this ecosystem have to be met for this to flourish and be sustainable. So, I’m very consciously looking into the benefit B Corp movement seeing more and more also Polish companies come to incorporate under this pledge of sustainability. I’m looking forward to that because if we think that companies are getting more and more efficient in what they do it also raises the question, what’s the end goal of existence of a company.

MG: I’m also looking forward to that. I’m also looking forward to this future, I’m curious whether in five, 10 years we’ll actually be in a position where, I don’t know, we’ll use autonomous car, blockchain to do contracting, et cetera, et cetera, because these solutions are there today, but are not there yet when it comes to embracing them and just keen on understanding whether we are on the right path to actually be in that place, or perhaps not. What’s your opinion?

KK: Yeah. I’m fairly confident that our children will not drive cars. I mean…

MG: Okay. Doing a driving license will be not anymore a thing for teenagers.

KK: True. I guess that would be only a pleasure thing. Right. You can drive…

MG: Just for fun.

KK: Just for fun. But yeah, I believe that then it’s how do we use this human potential that’s unlocked by not driving a car, right? If you think about how much time is locked, actually, in this mode of living or in this part of living, then you unlock that and the question is how do we use this and what will be the ways this additional human productivity potential and creativity will be used and harnessed and that’s a very open question. I believe that we’ll see technology being more and more invisible in our lives. We’ll get to this level of user experience that will be totally transparent. And we’ll see more devices that are with us and can interact with us in a more human and natural way.

MG: Like wearables, et cetera?

KK: Yes, we see an explosion in audio, of course, and there are more and more devices that we wear in our ears, which has been an area of our body that was not used that frequently, but then it just opens up the world to let us be freely communicate with people or machines in the same way. Maybe sometimes not knowing if we’re talking to a machine or a human being and that’s something that might make many people unease and afraid, but I’m looking quite confident into that part of the future.

MG: The lines are definitely more and more blurred and I guess every generation has a different threshold when it comes to this acceptance of how disruptive tech can be for them. For example, for my grandma, a smartphone would be too much, for me, a chip would be too much, but I guess for my kid, a chip would be the sexy thing to have to be interconnected with friends, et cetera, et cetera, so I guess, that gradually over time, we’re going to progress whether we want it or not.

KK: Well, I still believe that this is a cycle. That is a sinusoid and that will not be more and more machines as we go, but we’ll be more and more connected to other human beings and by reducing these barriers, it will not mean that we spend more time on social media. It means that social media will evolve into platforms that will create meaningful connections between people and that’s something I’m really looking forward to.

MG: Yeah. I’d like that as well. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. It was really thought-provoking. I really liked it. Summing up this conversation, I would say that tech is, as you’ve said, neither good or bad. It’s just the way we use it. So let’s not sugar coat it, but let’s not consider it the devil in the room as well. Interesting times ahead, definitely. Yeah. Let’s see how it goes.

KK: Yeah. I think the responsibility for the driving of technology forward lies in the hands of all entrepreneurs that are out there and this is a discussion we should be having also in Poland – what solutions do we create and how are we responsible for what it create as a tech scene here in Poland.

MG: Couldn’t agree with you more. Thank you.

KK: Thank you.

MG: And thank you, our viewers, for being with us on this, another episode of IT Leadership Insights by Future Processing. If you’ve liked it and found it useful, please share it and put a good word for us. And please do drop us a line as well if you’d like to have another topic covered in one of the future episodes. Thank you. That was It Leadership Insights by Future Processing.