Working in the technology sector, is not the only reason why someone should embrace the changes of our modern day world. The sphere of the Internet is something that affects everyone in the western world, and beyond, and this was again brought to the fore in an informative and educational lecture from Martha Lane Fox recently aired in the Richard Dimbleby Lecture on the BBC.
Co-founder of Lastminute.com, Martha Lane Fox, is not only a technological pioneer, promoting education and understanding around the Internet, but is taking this to another level, and has set up a petition on Change.org called Dot.Everyone, calling on the Prime Minister to embrace technology and the Internet, aspiring to make the UK “the most digital nation on the planet”, already achieveing 9,809 supporters. She has paved the way for women in business generally; in 1998 at the age of 25 and at the height of the Internet boom, battling gender stereotypes, and making a name for herself in the ever male-dominated business environment.
17 years on from his, she now hopes, with the Government’s backing, to create an agenda for a new institution, relating to technological advances, whose main objectives would be;
- To create a universal understanding of the Internet and its benefits and opportunities
- To get more women involved
- Address new ethical and moral issues
Martha quoted the late activist Aaron Swartz saying “It’s not OK not to understand the Internet anymore.” It is used throughout our whole society, and is not just the use of emails, internet shopping and search engines, but also encompasses advances in medical technology, health, banking and research. Anything you can think of can utilise technology and the Internet, but not everyone fully understands its power and potential. Martha’s dream is to be at a point where we are all educated and empowered in all aspects of technological life. Governments could “shape the world as it shapes us”, creating digital services to help everyone, saving money and creating better interactions. A radical redesign of our services could be cheaper, faster and more effective, with NHS waiting lists reduced, communication increased and social services advanced.
This is the fastest technological revolution in history, taking just 4 years to reach 50 million UK users, as opposed to 13 years for TV and 38 years for Radio . Martha quoted some interesting statistics;
“76% of Britons use the Internet every day.” with ecommerce accounting for about 15% of total UK retail sales in 2014. She also quoted a report from Tech City 2015, finding that there are now 1.4m people employed in the UK in digital businesses, making it 20 times bigger than just 5 years ago, which is even bigger than health, education or construction.
Interestingly, Martha informed us that of the top 100 websites in the world, only one of them (the BBC) was British (number 74). Shouldn’t Great Britain be more prevalent in such lists? There is a huge opportunity to make our mark on the Internet and technological world, with so many far-reaching benefits. It is something that we can’t run from, so embracing it certainly seems the way forward. With this, more jobs will be created, more opportunities and advantages. With 90% of jobs now requiring digital skills, education is the key to advancing our involvement with the Internet, and with such low percentages of women involved in the Technology sector (14%), Martha is propelled to increase this figure and plans to use Dot.Everyone as a way to encourage this change.
If you are interested in finding out more about Dot.Everyone, or signing Martha’s e-petition you can follow this link.
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