Social Justice and Corporate Responsibility in the Digital Age: A Story of Transformation

Explosions in data and digital technologies have opened up new possibilities to assist less fortunate populations with essential services and human rights.

In the last 40 years, humankind has made considerable advancements in the fields of genomics, biotechnology, Internet of Things (IoT), and cloud computing. Today, biometric sensors, PCR tubes and cloud services are as woven into the business landscape as mainframes, calculators, and smart boards were throughout the past quarter of a century.

According to the Visual Networking Index summary, an ongoing initiative from Cisco aiming to track and forecast the impact of visual networking applications:

“Annual global IP traffic will surpass zettabyte (ZB; 1000 exabytes [EB]) threshold in 2016 and will reach 2.3 ZB by 2020. Global IP traffic will reach 1.1 ZB per year, or 88.7 EB (one billion gigabytes [GB] per month in 2016. By 2020, global IP traffic will reach 2.3 ZB per year or 194 EB per month.

The summary goes on to explain:

“Global IP traffic will increase nearly three-fold over the next 5 years and will have increased nearly 100-fold from 2015 to 2020. Overall, IP traffic will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 22 percent from 2015 to 2020. Broadband speeds will double by 2020. By 2020, global fixed broadband speeds will reach 47.7 Mbps, up from 24.7 Mbps in 2015.”

This explosion in data has opened new opportunities for businesses, NGO’s, and government agencies, to assist populations in need with essential services and human rights.

Enter the digital age of social justice.

Cisco

Contrary to popular opinion, corporate greed is not standard practice among all large organizations. Cisco, for example, developed a corporate division known as TAC OPS and as a component of the Cisco Corporate Responsibility Group, the TAC OPS team has helped responders in 36 real-life disaster scenarios. Furthermore, since the group’s inception in 2005, they have participated in 16 training exercises globally.

Microsoft

Microsoft, the world’s largest software company, believes as a corporation and global citizen, it is their responsibility to help make the world a better place and to empower citizens, worldwide, to realize their full potential. For more than a decade, Microsoft has partnered with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) to help make this vision a reality through many corporate initiatives.

Google

Google connects a global community with information every day, and, like Microsoft, they’ve partnered with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children to help bring missing children home, and to prevent child sexual exploitation.

Google Grants also provide free online advertising to the NCMEC through their Ad Words product, thereby raising awareness and increasing web traffic to missingkids.com. Google Earth Pro, Google’s geospatial software, is extremely valuable in the search for missing and exploited children. Google has also dedicated teams of engineers to build unique technology solutions to advance the cause of the NCMEC. For example, Google engineers have developed a software program designed specifically to help NCMEC’s Exploited Children Division work more efficiently with law enforcement to identify, and in some cases, rescue, child victims of sexual exploitation.

Additionally, as a member of the Technology Coalition, Google plays a critical role in the fight against child sexual exploitation online. They are an active member of the Financial Coalition Against Child Pornography, an organization through which banks, credit card providers, third-party payment companies, and Internet service providers collaborate to stop the flow of funds to child pornography websites.

Due in large part to the support of companies like Microsoft and Google, the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children has moved from a 67% success rate in identifying missing and exploited children since 1997, to a 98% success rate in 2016. These are excellent examples of what we like to refer to as the digital age of social justice.

The opportunities of today can (and should) shape the populations of tomorrow.

There is a common thread among television news outlets globally: violence, loss, death, and disease. Human suffering is a shared problem across our planet. That being said, we have the power to change this reality.

Today’s technology has the ability not only to unite the global population in the struggle against human suffering; it has the power to change the world, as we know it.

A mini case study: how IBM, the PGA, and Boston Children’s Hospital revolutionized the treatment of pediatric medical services around the world.

In 2005, the Professional Golfers Association (PGA), in conjunction with IBM, designed Lync, a social media platform aimed at giving spectators across the globe, the ability to watch and interact with the PGA Open in real-time.

An Infectious Disease Specialist at Boston Children’s Hospital caught wind of the platform. During a meeting with a colleague engaged in work with Doctors Without Borders, who had encountered an as yet unknown tropical disease, he envisioned a use for the Lync platform that would revolutionize how pediatric diseases are treated and taught in hospitals and universities around the world.

The partnership between IBM, the PGA, and Boston Children’s Hospital resulted in what is known today as the Open Pediatrics Platform. This technological tool employs a combination of video and social media, allowing Doctors globally to consult with specialists at Boston Children’s Hospital in real-time and is used additionally as an educational tool for pediatric procedures.

The Open Pediatrics Platform perfectly demonstrates the power of technology and digital solutions to transform our world positively.

Where will we go from here? The sky is the limit—if we choose it to be.

In the coming years, we will witness an unprecedented amount of growth in data and Internet traffic, and along with this, an explosion of new technologies explicitly related to the fields of Healthcare and Life Sciences.

In the digital era, nations, governments, and individuals, will find it impossible to turn a blind eye to the injustice, inequalities, and human rights violations plaguing our world. We have the technology today to eradicate the disease and starvation impacting populations across the globe, but it is up to us to ensure these technologies are used for more than just the prosperity of a few at the top—they’ve got to be implemented in a such a way that provides a benefit to humankind.


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