Introducing GoodTechConf!

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What are tech ethics? What is good tech? Why are people talking about this now? How can I get involved?

The founding principles
Earlier this year various events conspired which compelled the team behind goodtechconf to start a new type of conference. A conference founded upon the principles of Ethics, Technology and Society. But what do we mean by each of these things? And why now?

Ethics
Ethics forms the boundaries of intent within which software can be designed and delivered. There are a number of great resources available on this topic, and rather than call each out, I’d suggest reading the excellent post by Sam Warner on the coedethics blog listed at the end of this post.

Technology
This is our bread and butter and the stuff which we labour over and create to try and affect the World around us. The increasing shift of previously repetitive or laborious jobs to have a foundation in technology suggests that those involved in this building the future may well have a strong say in its design too.

Society
In the context of good tech conference (and the broader tech for good movement), Society really means social impact and responsibility. Whether this be delivering tools that are open in the true sense (for others to use and learn from), or developing applications to assist people or organisations in need of support.

Why now?
Increasingly, the use of technology is getting pervasive. The influence exerted by social networks and the availability of data and its how it is and can be used are causes for concern. The consequences of what we build today, are likely to cast shadows for years to come, and both regulation and guidelines are finding it impossible to keep pace with rapid advances in technology. So, discussing and providing reference points around the ethical use of technology and how it can be used for social good are vital at this juncture.

Aims of the conference
Beyond the general bringing together of likeminded people at the conference, and the usual value garnered from network effects and the corridor track, the conference also has some specific goals. Namely:

  • Look at how technology is currently being used to tackle issues of food and packaging waste and homelessness.
  • Hear about recent research into both the usability and training of AI machines and the dangers of doing these activities without ethical guidelines.
  • Discuss the challenges and possible solutions to building software ethically and for social impact
  • Suggest ideas and deliver prototype software for a social cause, which can later be extended and sustained. This is both to provide a tangible technology outcome to drive social impact and to help others keen to extend their technical knowledge, skill and connect to others in tech.

Is the conference for me?
If you’re interested in using technology to shape the World around you for the better, this conference is for you!
If you’re interested in learning more about technology and development in a friendly and supportive environment, this conference is for you!
If you’re interested in what all the fuss is about tech ethics, or tech for good, and want to find out more, this conference is for you!
The conference is held over 2 days on the 19th and 20th of November in Brighton and tickets are available here. The first day is a series of inspiring and informed talks and discussions. The second day is a mentored hackday to work on ideas voiced during the previous day or on the hackday itself. Any questions or requests for assistance at the conference, please email contact@goodtechconf.org Otherwise, grab a ticket and head to the coast for a Good Tech Conference!

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