How is the use of data changing our society?

KAUTE talks x Aalto University webinar discussed the societal impacts of technological development and who can influence it. The speakers highlighted the need for a deeper understanding of issues related to the ethics and responsibility of the use of data and other technologies.
KAUTE talks x Aalto University, photo: Mikko Raskinen

KAUTE talks x Aalto University is a series of events organised jointly by the KAUTE Foundation and Aalto University. The events bring together researchers to discuss current research and upcoming applications with organisations that apply research results into practice.

The first KAUTE talks x Aalto University webinar event on 9 December focused on the data-driven future. The webinar was hosted by Risto Sarvas, Professor of Practice at Aalto University with keynote speakers Eero Korhonen, Head of Strategic Partnerships at Google inc., and Meeri Haataja, CEO and Co-Founder at AI startup Saidot.

In the discussion, Risto Sarvas emphasized that the technology industry and its investors are in the driver’s seat of major societal changes by creating and enabling technological development. Their agendas, values and investment criteria affect what our future will look like.

'Are these professionals aware and interested in this direct and indirect power that they have? They don’t necessarily want to think about their societal power,' Risto Sarvas asked.

Data is just raw material

Eero Korhonen highlighted that we are still at a very early stage of the development and there are a lot of opportunities yet to be harnessed. Data is just raw material, and it needs to be structured and turned into knowledge for it to be useful. 

'Understanding the opportunities of data is expanding now beyond the technology sector to more traditional industries, but most companies still need to take the first step,' Eero Korhonen said.

'To become data supported, organisations need to break silos, find the right tools and skills and have the leadership to drive the change'.

According to Eero Korhonen, data supported future is not limited to any sector, however, the energy sector, food production and life sciences are likely to get a lot of focus within societies.

KAUTE Talks & Aalto University: Data-driven future
Risto Sarvas, Professor of Practice at Aalto University and Meeri Haataja, CEO and co-founder at AI startup Saidot.

Responsible data business

Meeri Haataja pointed out that there is a clear gap between the environmental, social and governance (ESG) criteria used by investors and the societal impacts that civil society is actually concerned about. According to her, the ESG measurement should be updated to include broader measures related to health and safety, human rights and social impacts at large, such as misinformation.

'I call for investors and rating agencies to look into this criteria. The first thing is to realize that this is not only about privacy and data security, but there are so many other aspects to responsible data business,' Meeri Haataja said.

The speakers concluded that as we move towards a more data-driven future, we need to take into account the impacts to society from various points of view to ensure ethical and sustainable use of data and technology.

Next webinar on February 2 : Diversity and inclusion in organisations

It’s well known that the most innovative and disruptive ideas emerge in diverse teams. However, there are many bottlenecks yet to be solved in fostering diversity and inclusion. How do multinational corporations, startups and NGOs tackle these challenges? Join us to find out! The discussion will be guided by Rebecca Piekkari, Marcus Wallenberg Professor of International Business at Aalto University and Sami Itani, CEO at Adecco Finland.

You can sign up to the webinar here

KAUTE talks x Aalto University is a new webinar series bringing together representatives from the industry and academia, to discuss and learn about world-shaping phenomena of our time through focused and thought-provoking presentations. This event is produced in cooperation with KAUTE Foundation.

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