The Federation | GM Responsible Tech Collective

In light of lockdown, we'll be exploring how the GM Responsible Tech Collective uses its collective might to shape our regional response.

In late Summer 2019, at The Federation we learnt that beyond the PR concerns and the desire for brands to be perceived positively, the region’s businesses understand that responsible tech matters to people. People they’re selling products to, and the people they’re employing. That shame and fear are a major barrier to tech organisations facing into the potential consequences of the products they design and develop. We heard that Greater Manchester businesses have ambition, that most importantly includes the wants, needs and voices of those people creating, using and being impacted by tech.

In early Autumn last year, The Federation brought together a collective of the region's most progressive and ambitious organisations, including the Co-op, BBC, Manchester Digital and Manchester City Council, to discuss how as a city we use this motivation and ambition to establish Greater Manchester as an examplar city-region for ethical tech. Education, practical tools and the opportunity to pilot and innovate in partnership with citizens were all flagged, and now, we have a plan.

Now, in light of COVID-19, our work takes on additional meaning. The need to work collectively is more important than ever. The immediate push to match volunteers with people and organisations who require support via tech has shown how powerful the industry can be in supporting social issues, and the need for effective deployment of both healthcare and employment solutions is clearer than ever. What's also being revealed is how SmartCity technology is being posited as a tool to map citizen movement, and in light of racist narratives surrounding the virus, how important that as an industry, we stand as allies for people of colour.

At our next session, we'll be reviewing how we proceed as a collective during lockdown, updating on the progress of our projects and discussing the opportunity we have to map the ethical tech ecosystem in Greater Manchester. Discussion: Tech Industry Response to COVID-19 Decision: Responsible Tech Review and Training Session Next Steps Update: Cultural Inclusion & City-Led Smart City Project Needs Opportunity: Ethical Tech Ecosystem Mapping Approach Approach: Partnership Working and Priority Issues

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