The “Connected for Shared Prosperity Forum” was held by Huawei, Global Mobile Association (GSMA), where participants joined both online and in person to discuss the value of digital technologies in sustainable development for a better, connected world, representing organizations from around the world, including international industry regulators and think tanks. More than 1000 guests from over 50 countries attended the conference online.
Chen Lifang, Huawei Senior Vice President and Board Member, delivered a keynote speech titled “Believe in the Power of Technology” where she described how technology can be used as an engine for human progress. While calling on individuals and businesses to think big and act small, Chen reiterated her support of the UN’s sustainable development goals and building a green, innovative and inclusive world.
We’ve all had mixed feelings about 2020. The pandemic has changed our lives. Many things we took for granted no longer exist and our values have changed. My biggest take away from the past year has been just how hard it is for society to reach a consensus. There seems to be constant conflict and disagreement, from deciding if it’s necessary to impose lockdowns to debating if it’s worth it to wear a mask. Today, we’ve come together to discuss the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals. I, personally, believe that technology is crucial to advancing these goals, and together, we must do two things to fully unleash the power of technology and drive sustainable development.
5G is a standardized technology defined by its high bandwidth, low latency, and broad connectivity. It helps traditional industries transform and can benefit all. Wide-scale 5G deployment can already be seen in multiple industries around the world. Every-day consumers are benefiting from 5G experiences, while industrial use in seaports, mines, and the transportation sector is increasing operational efficiency. Is this a bad thing? I don’t think so.
If we claim that technology is critically important but its development is ideologically wrong, this will only result in division, confusion, and regression.
We must reach a global consensus on this issue and believe in the power of technology to leverage it for the benefit of the society. Of course, there is always the danger that someone will abuse a new technology. This is not a new concern. But since the industrial revolution, we have seen how establishing rules to manage technological risks can safeguard us. Through rules, technological developments can transcend national boundaries and improve the livelihoods of all without incurring undue risk. We are entering a digital era, and many are hard at work creating the governance rules for cyber security, privacy protection, and trusted AI that will keep us safe. For the rest of us, it’s time to be confident and open to technological development.
What’s more, Huawei and UNESCO launched the Open Schools program over the course of a three-year partnership, to help schools in Egypt, Ethiopia, and Ghana improve their digital skills with online education. Every one of these examples, every single connection, every gram of emissions reduced, every watt of electricity saved, every small improvement we’ve made, couldn’t have been achieved without small advances in tech. This is the value tech brings to the world.