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Business leaders frequently express fatigue with technology restrictions, believing that such stopgaps could potentially stifle their growth.

However, the rate of technological progress must be accompanied by ever-faster and smarter regulatory changes, as the goal is not to slow down innovation. We therefore need policies and regulations that address new challenges, risks and threats, including privacy and security.

The rise of technology governance from both industry and the public sector is a good indication. Recent examples include industry-led initiatives like Global Digital Finance’s cryptocurrency code of conduct, or the Cybersecurity Tech Accord, government-led multilateral efforts such as the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the G20 AI Principles, and the formation of the public-private Global Partnership on AI. More recently at the UK’s AI Safety Summit in November 2023, 28 countries including the US, UK and China, alongside the European Union, signed the Bletchley Declaration, a world-first global agreement to ensure the safety of AI.

Businesses, together with other ecosystem stakeholders, have an important role to play in assisting governments in developing effective regulations to guide the influence of breakthrough technologies in a positive direction. Ethics should be the foundation on which our actions, systems, regulations, and policies must stand. Not self-interest, but collective interests, will engage everyone in this forward movement.

Trust in a Technology Will Determine its Success

In 2021 trust in technologies’ impacts and how it will be used fell to it’s lowest point in recent years. Technology companies have a powerful influence, which is starting to create distrust in the general population. The Pew Research Centre recently found that in the US, 56% of Americans think major technology companies should be regulated more than they are now, and 68% believe these companies have too much authority and influence over the economy. Many people are extremely worried about privacy, fake news, cybercrime, and more – especially in-home devices. Many stakeholders favour tighter regulations on tech companies to make sure technologies are used for good and to rebuild trust.

A steady stream of controversies has dominated the conversation over how tech companies gather, handle, process, and exchange huge amounts of data. Even with a commitment to privacy and governance, the CEOs and founders of these companies have failed to persuade consumers that surveillance is not a constant danger to their fundamental rights and freedoms.

People’s distrust of governments and companies drives them to pause and reconsider how much reliance they should place on both leaders and services in control of directing these quickly evolving technologies. More threatening instances are developing, exacerbating people’s fears. Even in the city of San Francisco – with a tech economy where high levels of enthusiasm for digital infiltration may be expected – facial recognition services are stringently controlled to “regulate the excesses of technology.”

We Need Better Regulation for Technology for A Better Future

Businesses and their leaders will play a central role in harnessing the power of technology to create a better future for all. But we still have a long way to go to ensure tech is used for good.

Regulatory boundaries and protections must be put in place to prevent fraud or misuse that could further damage trust in technology. But regulations shouldn’t impede progress. They should adopt a proactive stance, aiming to create a positive impact on society rather than merely avoiding harm.

Building momentum backed by bold commitments and ethical intents steers technology toward tackling global challenges that are centred around a strong moral compass. Let’s responsibly guide innovation for good.

About The Author:

Marga HoekMarga Hoek is a three-time CEO, Chair, and international Board Member. Due to her visionary, purpose-driven leadership, Hoek has gained recognition over the years as a global thought leader on sustainable business, capital, and innovation. She is a sought-after keynote speaker around the world, bringing global contextual knowledge and experience to the conversation around business for good. She is a multi-golden-awarded bestselling author of the trailblazing titles New Economy Business (2014) and The Trillion Dollar Shift (2018). Fortune praised The Trillion Dollar Shift, which highlights opportunities the UN’s Global Goals hold for business, as “required reading.” Recognized by Thinkers50 for her global management thinking, Marga Hoek coined the slogan “Business for Good” in 2014 to emphasize her mission “to make Business for Good the norm, rather than the exception.” She continues to champion this mission with this exciting book on Tech for Good: Solving the World’s Greatest Challenges.