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Guest Blog - How Can Technology Companies Learn from Faith? By Lory Kehoe

February 2020

Prior to my trip to the World Economic Forum in Davos, where I moderated a panel at the Interfaith House, the role of faith in technology was not an issue I had paid much attention to. During my engagement with the IAFSC, I spoke with religious, technology, business and financial leaders and my eyes were opened to the role that faith leaders and faiths across the world can play to ensure morality is at the forefront of the technology that is changing the way we live. 

Our world is fuelled by technology. Powerful technology companies enable communities across our world to connect and advance, although often, profit margins are prioritised over the end-user. It is arguable that technology companies, as do faiths, have a responsibility to work to create a better world, and what better way to achieve this than to work together with a broad coalition of interested stakeholders? The work of the IAFSC in building this coalition is incredibly important. 

Over the past few years, we have seen faiths embrace technology in new and innovative ways. For example, some churches are accepting donations using contactless cards. The Vatican released an eRosary bracelet device. There are even dating sites for different religions, such as Muzmatch for Muslims and Jdate for JSwipe for Jewish singles. While many faiths have utilised and embraced technologies in a number of ways, technology companies have not embraced faith.

84% of the world currently subscribes to a faith and studies by the Pew Research Center’s have shown that the world is becoming more religious as it becomes more interconnected. As communities become more connected across cultural boundaries, and as technology increasingly transforms our communities, the need for interfaith dialogue around ethical technology usage becomes ever more relevant.

Technology companies have a responsibility to operate towards the betterment of human civilisation. Time and time again, we have seen technology companies placing their bottom line higher on the list of importance than people, often to the detriment of humanity. Technology companies can utilise faith by developing a moral code for the functioning of their business. It is also important for technology companies to engage the perspectives of a broad coalition of interested stakeholders, including faith leaders who are on the ground dealing with the fallout of irresponsible technology usage. I strongly believe that in order to have a more equitable society, companies should look towards using the triple bottom line approach, taking into consideration people and the planet alongside the traditional profit focus.

About Lory Kehoe:

Lory Kehoe is Adjunct Assistant Professor in Technology Trends & Strategic Information Systems at Trinity College Dublin. 

 

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