You are here

3. Individuals, Societies and Digital Technologies

The ultimate purpose of digital technology should always be to improve human welfare. Beyond the socio-economic aspects discussed in the previous chapter, digital technologies have proved that they can connect individuals across cultural and geographic barriers, increasing understanding and potentially helping societies to become more peaceful and cohesive.

However, this is only part of the story. There are also many examples of digital technologies being used to violate rights, undermine privacy, polarise societies and incite violence.

The questions raised are new, complex and pressing. What are the responsibilities of social media companies, governments and individual users? Who is accountable when data can move across the world in an instant? How can varied stakeholders, in nations with diverse cultural and historical traditions, cooperate to ensure that digital technologies do not weaken human rights but strengthen them?