MWC has chosen the theme of Intelligent Connectivity this year. At face value, it is an obvious choice given the explosion of what I call the Fifth Wave of Computing i.e. the combined impact of IoT, AI and 5G. But for me it also speaks to an idea taking us beyond devices and data - it relates to how we must intelligently connect our thinking so the technologies we’re designing will create maximum positivity for the generations to come.
A point made by my friend Dr. Mary Aiken, an eminent cyber-psychologist and adviser on our Arm Gen 2Z program sums this up well: “Technology in itself is not good or bad … it is really a matter of how well, or not, it is designed for real-world human-use.” She was talking about the darker side of technology and the unintended consequences of giving humans the ability to connect almost without limits. Her thinking relates to the issue of young people becoming addicted to social media and engaging in potentially risky behaviours, such as setting up multiple online identities to hide their usage from friends and parents.
Mary’s position, and mine, on this subject and other more positive aspects of technology are summed up in a new Arm report that we have created in collaboration with independent researchers and experts. It is called Youth on Tech: Secret Accounts, Robot Teachers & Retiring at 73. You’ll find it on the arm.com homepage. It is a very detailed report and well worth reading, especially if you are a parent!
I have spoken many times about the social contract with tech users that I think binds all technology companies to their responsibilities as digital innovators and that is now clearly coming to a head. MWC 2019 throws back the curtain on what the future holds in the form of 5G-capable smartphones and a host of devices with increasingly potent machine learning (ML) functionality and general compute abilities.
As I have often said, the benefits of new technology vastly outweigh the negatives – to the extent that we almost don’t need to argue the point. But if we did, then MWC provides yet another eye-opening opportunity as no fewer than four of our Arm Gen 2Z ambassadors (aged 11-14) are joining me on stage during a keynote presentation on Day 3 (tomorrow). We’ll report back on that conversation in a follow-up blog but I’m sure it’ll make for truly inspiring listening. You can check out our youth ambassadors on Generation Arm 2Z website.
All of our youth ambassadors are using technology in highly creative and positive ways. Emma Yang has been coding since she was six-years-old and she has used that passion to create an app called Timeless that helps Alzheimer’s patients to stay connected with their families.
Avye Couloute runs sponsored coding workshops and gives attendees of her ‘Girls into Coding’ event free computer kits. She recently won the Coolest Projects UK award for her voice command robot and has been selected for the Young Coders Conference to be held in London’s Tate Modern. She is only 11 years old!
Samaira Mehta has already found fame in Silicon Valley due to her keen interest in cybersecurity and, as an eight-year-old, she developed a game called CoderBunnyz to teach other kids to code.
Staying with security, Reuben Paul is a respected cybersecurity expert and he takes part regularly in education forums where he hacks into online systems to expose weaknesses.
My keynote presentation takes place in Hall 4, Auditorium 1, of the MWC conference venue, from 1030-1100GMT (0930-1000 local). If you want to tune in to the digital livestream, you can access it here, or;
Mobile World Live full screen stream
Our Arm Gen 2Z ambassadors are all shining examples of what technology can offer for our youth today in terms of opportunities and excitement. But as well as grasping the positive opportunities, they are all mindful of the potential negative impacts. Because of that, we asked them all to comment on the findings our report and you can read what they think on the back page. Before reading the full report, here are a few select findings:
The Human/Machine Relationship:
Download the full Youth on Tech report
I think MWC is the start of a launchpad year for the tech sector. The rollout of 5G will accelerate the intelligent connectivity of the device world and greatly enhance our ability to process and gain insights from data.
But this is not a just evolution of apps, we’re also seeing a revolution of attitudes - as our Youth on Tech report shows. Not only do youths see robots serving us as machines, they perceive a change in the human/robot relationship. As once humankind took the wolf in and it became a much-loved family member, young people now think advanced machines may find a place in our hearts as well as our homes. Welcome to the future!