• Miguel Benavides

The new social paradigm.

Social Impact (3/3).

“It was my mistake, and I´m sorry for that”. These are the words Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, told the US Senate Committee in relation to the Cambridge Analytica case a couple of weeks ago.

It´s been a month since I last posted an article on Social Responsibility, and so much has hit the news on sensitive subjects related to the technological revolution:

  • Of course, the Cambridge Analytica case and Facebook´s CEO, M. Zuckerberg, appearing in a US Senate Committee to explain the leaking of over 87 million users´ personal data to a rather “crooked” political firm;

  • Uber and Tesla´s self-driving car accidents raised questions on the maturity of this technology and the risk it poses to population;

  • Also, Tesla´s CEO and a visionary of a kind, Elon Musk, is talking about excessive automation and stating that “humans are underrated” while we all blindly run towards Industry 4.0 and automation at a net cost to jobs we can´t even seem understand.

A new paradigm is needed for Corporate Social Responsibility.

First thing is probably to change the name. “Corporate Social Responsibility” has become obsolete, it sounds outdated, from a different century, from a different generation. "Social Citizenship"? Probably better, citizenship comes with rights and duties. But I suggest an approach that goes beyond legality, and search for a deep values that drive actions. “Social Impact”? That drives engagement and commitment, but it leaves the concept of Responsibility aside. Maybe a name around integrity or ethics could bring back and refresh that old phrase that means so much: “do the right thing even when no one is looking”.

“do the right thing even when no one is looking”

Second, mobilization needs to be broad. Every social agent needs to play an active role in defining the rules we want the new paradigm to play by. I am here writing this post as an individual, but I am at the same time a citizen, a consultant, an entrepreneur, an investor. The sense of responsibility needs to be present in every sphere of our lives. Again, integrity and ethics, more than liabilities or reputation, should be central to our actions.

I am here writing this post as an individual, [...] a citizen, a consultant, an entrepreneur, an investor.

Third, regulators need a drastic boost. While they should act as precursors proactively defining the framework for our future society, they too often show up late, with doubtful attitude. Watching these subtle smiles in the audience during the US Senate Committee questioning M. Zuckerberg was sadly very telling. They seemed to say: “these folks do not understand what they´re talking about”. Disruptive thinking and technology are needed in the political and regulatory arenas, not to further foster the technological rush, but to help societies sustainably adapt to it.

I insist, this is not a claim against technology but rather a call for society to mature in how we use it, and what we use it for. As I experience my own Digital Discovery, I am designing the path of my future life. Integrity will drive my decisions. This is a pledge for my future adventures in the digital world...

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