How does technology actually affect our societies?
Most people realise how important technology is for the development of our societies, but how does digitalisation actually affect the major issues in a democracy? The opportunities now available for people who want to have their voice heard combined with the new abundance of information have already had a major impact. We had a chat with Anna Thörnlund, Business Area Manager at Softronic, who has a lot to say on this subject.
Digitalisation gives everyone a voice
Ever since the democratic society emerged, there have been two main obstacles that have stood in the way of its continued development into a freer and more equal society:
“The first obstacle is that we, as citizens, have had little opportunity to express our opinions and make ourselves heard,” says Anna Thörnlund. “Social platforms have played a major role in giving the ordinary person a voice. So even though it may seem that loud minorities with extreme views appear to dominate at times, there are many positives from our ability to communicate directly with those in power and the general public.”
“If you have an Instagram account and are able to express yourself, you can now have an influence in a way that used to be reserved for those with a large PR or advertising budget,” says Anna.
“And similarly, consumer review platforms allow us to publicly review a company’s products and services. This gives us, the consumers, greater power to influence the range and design of products than we might ever have had before.”
Everyone receives perfect information
The second major obstacle to democracy, where digitalisation has had a big impact, is access to information:
“You can now look up virtually all public information using a search function, which makes it easier for us as citizens to protect our own interests and gain access to important social functions,” says Anna. “For example, now that we have access to all our medical records, it’s much easier for us to take control of our own healthcare and be more proactive. And 25 years ago it was unthinkable for us to do our banking ourselves. But the advent of online banking has given us far more opportunities to analyse and control our own personal finances.”
“Another good example of the democratisation of information is the way that the Swedish Tax Agency has built up its e-services,” says Anna. “Their approach was clearly to make it easier for taxpayers to do the right thing. This is obvious not only from the intuitive functions, for example, for tax returns, but also from the language they use, which is now more accessible with much less jargon than before,” continues Anna.
“This is also where the new AI technology also plays a very important role,” says Anna. “For example, chatbots can help us find the information we need, which makes it easier for us to take informed decisions about our lives, whether they are minor or major decisions.”
“It’s such great motivation to be working with digital solutions in a way that makes life easier for people and companies. For me, it’s quite clear that digitalisation contributes to a greater democratisation of society, and for me this is what GoodTech is all about,” concludes Anna.