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Scienze e tecnologietecnologieaccessibilità

A dialogue on the development of technology in the work of recent years between Sergio Saia and Monika Jankowska-Rangelov from State Street

A cura di Marta Bello
01 Nov 2023

What is the link between technology and business and how has technical-scientific development impacted State Street?

SERGIO:

Technology can be considered a business in its own right, nowadays, it is also an essential part of a financial institution like State Street. When I started working in this industry, technology was simply seen as an accessory, at least an enabler factor. In recent years technology has certainly become far more important. Moreover, technology and inclusion are closely linked in today’s world: advancements in technology have the potential to promote greater inclusivity across various aspects of our society. From my day-by-day experience, some examples in which technology has contributed to fostering inclusion are:

Remote Work - Advancements in communication technology and collaboration tools have made remote work really feasible. Such flexibility has improved work opportunities for people with mobility challenges or caregiving responsibilities. Today, in-office presence is considered to be more a social need for human. Technological solutions that allow everyone working remotely highlights a company’s resiliency, as demonstrated during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Cultural Exchange – Within State Street digital platforms have facilitated cultural exchange and promote understanding by connecting people from different backgrounds, which has genuinely fostered a sense of global community.

E-learning – E-learning platforms and digital educational resources are providing more flexible and inclusive learning opportunities. People who face obstacles to traditional education, such as those with disabilities or limited access to physical classrooms, are benefiting from online courses.

MONIKA:

I totally agree technology is a business itself; this is very important to underline because many industries still underestimate it. They see that in the future technology will help every single person, but it already does. However, companies don’t often invest in assistive technologies and solutions to improve their organizational accessibility which translates purely into effectiveness. On the other hand, technology also brings some risks. An example is what has been widely discussed on social media: AI generated images. People are not able to verify the facts and believe the received content to be fact and truth. We need education in this sense.

Another big risk is that the developers of each technology will have different bias and stereotypes. Furthermore, most recent research show there are between 25% and 40% of neurodivergent people in each country, which means that their social skills are somehow limited, and they are the perfect victims of some new technologies.Another big risk is that the developers of each technology will have different bias and stereotypes. Furthermore, most recent research show there are between 25% and 40% of neurodivergent people in each country, which means that their social skills are somehow limited, and they are the perfect victims of some new technologies.

For children it’s fantastic that they now have access to a huge source of information and knowledge through the internet and virtual experience among others, but adults have the responsibilities to filter the information and set boundaries in order to protect children.

We need to become gatekeepers from both moral and ethical perspectives. The very high level of addiction to dispositive technology among the younger generation may translate into Having people to be trained to see the risks and the opportunities in order to benefit from the technology in a smart way.

SERGIO:

think it is a broad-brush misconception to think every child today is addicted to their phones and not developing essential social skills. Instead, they are engaging with technology in a different manner, which involves spending considerable amount of time reading and accessing a vast array of information. In the digital age, children have unprecedented access to diverse resources that contribute to their knowledge and understanding of the world.

Their use of technology fosters new forms of social interaction. While face-to-face interactions remain crucial, children are also engaging in virtual communities and online discussions. Through online platforms and social media, they connect with peers from diverse backgrounds and culture, sharing ideas and perspectives on various subjects.

This digital connectivity enables the new generations to develop social skills in a modern context.

Do you think that one solution might be to build the technologies already in an accessible way instead of building technology and then make it accessible?

MONIKA:

I think that building an inclusive world from the beginning is a must. Especially for the companies, and we still have plenty of work to do at State Street. Our world is becoming disabilities smarter, and I love this expression that comes from the Business Disability Forum of which we are also a partner. We are gaining technology, but acknowledge that many people don’t have very deep digital skills. Also, technology needs to be accessible the same way as the accessibility of buildings or public spaces. Technology offers freedom and helps people with limitations like using gps or speech to text on a smartphone by visually impaired individuals. The technology offers so much and will never stop giving better chances or creating more adjustable environment.

SERGIO:

Technology has always been deeply intertwined with business, but in the present landscape, organizations are increasingly recognizing the wide array of opportunities it presents… Moreover, technology embraces today even corporate social responsibility. Events that focus on exploring these technological frontiers witness enthusiastic participation from forward-thinking organizations keen to harness its potential and drive positive societal impact.

What has been the progress of these years of state road on inclusiveness? Has technology helped? How? Is still important to talk about D&I, how can also technology help to have a more inclusive language or very practical ways to reach more inclusive place?

SERGIO:

Technology has played a pivotal role, significantly contributing to overcoming barriers and fostering enhanced productivity and connectivity. Its impact extends beyond business operations, facilitating seamless communication and social interactions, especially during challenging times like the pandemic. By providing a means for people to stay connected and engaged, technology has been instrumental in supporting mental well-being and promoting a sense of safety. As we move forward, the continued integration of technology will play a vital role in shaping a more resilient and inclusive future.

MONIKA:

The aspirational diversity and inclusion goals continue we monitor the progresses on a monthly basis and the results are also fluctuating because the populations keep changing. We are improving by implementing the policy of disability inclusion and we are learning to think inclusively, especially around neurodiversity. We have started working on Global Reasonable Accommodations Policy that will involve technology and lifting barriers in every of our location where State Street operates. We’ve talked about diversity for many years, now we can focus on Inclusion and Equity. By Equity we understand that people have got different needs, and this is the clue. Technology can stimulate inclusion because it is a great tool itself on one hand, on the other it offers great solutions to respond to individual needs (e.g. people with special needs). The employers will need to invest more and educate themselves on those practical solutions and best practices existing on the market across various industries.

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