“Don’t let a crisis go to waste”
Advancing Humanity means leveraging the “endless frontier” and “infinite set of opportunities” of software
By: Silicon Harlem
On October 16, 2020, the seventh annual Silicon Harlem Next Gen Tech Virtual Summit was held online. This year’s theme, “Advancing Humanity”, was addressed by speakers including Internet inventor and Google Chief Internet Evangelist Vint Cerf, New York City Mayor candidate Maya Wiley, FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel and many more.
The day was sponsored by T-Mobile, Google, Verizon and Spectrum.
“Don’t let a crisis go to waste”
The day kicked off with Vint Cerf pointing out that COVID-19 has exposed “serious fissures in our social, economic, and technological worlds. Despite all of the horrible things that [have] happened — lost lives and illnesses and the economic stress and everything else — don’t let a crisis go to waste. Let’s take advantage of what we are seeing and learning from this experience and let’s turn it to utility.“
“Software is an endless frontier” said Cerf, with “an infinite set of opportunities”. New and emerging technologies like balloon-based radio systems will soon mean there won’t be a single square inch of the earth that can’t be reached by the internet.
“We have the opportunity to harness the mass, collective creative imagination of us all to create a world where we are committed to advancing humanity.” said Clayton Banks, co-founder and CEO of Silicon Harlem. “But the world we will create depends on the decisions we make today. Just because the internet can reach everywhere on Earth doesn’t mean it will. Ensuring free access to all will be necessary if we intend to unlock the world’s true potential.”
Challenges in a world increasingly reliant on software
Cerf pointed out that the infinite set of opportunities ahead come with equally daunting challenges.” [Humanity] is becoming very dependent on [software]” he cautioned, “ and we need to be very thoughtful about that dependency.”
Bugs can be exploited to distribute malware and ransomware. Social media “can be abused for the propagation of misinformation, disinformation and divisive discourse [and addressing these] serious detriments to our social stability is not an easy challenge, and not solvable purely by technology.”
In the end, Cerf said, “Critical thinking would be very useful. Where did this stuff come from? Is there any corroborating evidence for the assertions that are being made? Is someone trying to convince me of something for some purpose for which I might not agree?
Building a better, smarter future
In short, the future depends on all of us — and especially young people.
“My job at Google as the Chief Internet Evangelist is to try to get more people connected to the internet all around the world.” said Google’s Vint Cerf. “I could listen to [Silicon Harlem’s] students all day, I just love the creativity and energy and enthusiasm”.
“Putting that creativity and energy and enthusiasm to work can change the world” said Clayton Banks, co-founder and CEO of Silicon Harlem. “That’s why at Silicon Harlem our goal is simple: every home, 100% will have a robust broadband connection at home for free. Our view is that anytime you connect people, you can’t fail. People need that connection, and the world needs what comes from the sparks that fly as a result.”
To make that vision a reality, Silicon Harlem has launched a new internet service aimed at providing every home a broadband connection. This ambitious effort will require investment, upgraded infrastructure, partnerships with real estate owners, legislation and public policy, leveraging municipal assets, affordable computers, access to free digital literacy and more. To get involved, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Silicon Harlem is an advanced technology and community engagement company. We are committed to provide broadband, STEM education, workforce, and economic opportunities for all. Our annual next gen tech event convenes a worldwide community to envision the technological and interconnected future of our world. Learn more at siliconharlem.com.