Four "Es" are top of mind when examining the role of new technologies in shaping the world's future.
The advancements of new technologies, including robotics, artificial intelligence, and quantum technology to name a few, represent a significant opportunity for our societies. How is UNESCO currently working to guide an approach that allows new technologies to serve the liberation of education?
Our modern and industrialized world has sometimes forgotten that we coexist with it. This relationship has become unbalanced in many ways to a point where the consequences are now detrimental to humankind. On the other hand, technological advancements have made such progress that they also offer perhaps an opportunity to provide new solutions for the preservation and protection of the environment, not at the expense of humanity but in harmony with human life. How do UNESCO's actions translate into its desire to help preserve and protect the environment?
Progress comes through discoveries that science and technology enable us to illuminate. However, the uses we make of these discoveries must, in turn, be guided by an ethics and an approach that benefits humanity and the environment, in accordance with global norms and standards.
Yet, it looks like there is a double-paradox:
New technologies is necessary to bring about new innovative solutions that have the potential to help address the major challenges of our societies. On the other hand, norms, standards, and the necessary regulatory elements to set limits, frameworks, and prohibitions are advancing slower than technology, and the speed gap between the two widens as technological advancements accelerate.
This is the first paradox.
Nevertheless, some might argue that this gap is somehow necessary to allow room for invention, innovation and creativity.
And this could be the second paradox.
What are the prerogatives advocated by UNESCO to establish a fair balance?
New technologies and the potential they offer are not equally distributed worldwide. And while digital technologies are evolving at a rapid pace, this evolution is not uniform across the globe. It is estimated that only 60% of the global population has access to the internet, and most of these individuals are in developed countries. For the rest of the global population, access to the internet is limited or even nonexistent for some. Education, work, and public services depend, and are increasingly dependent, on digital access. As new technologies change our societies, the lack of connectivity becomes an increasingly significant obstacle to human development where digital access is scarce. How are current initiatives, supported by UNESCO, working to enhance equal chances to access to digital advantages?