Human Security for All: Innovation is the Key

Overview In this CES Tech Talk podcast, Garry Jacobs, president and CEO of World Academy of Art and Science (WAAS), discusses the critical role of technology in advancing human security for all. Key takeaway: Yesterday's successes are no guarantee of winning outcomes tomorrow.

Now in its sixth season, the CES Tech Talk podcast features interviews with industry experts who bring you an insider’s look at what to expect at CES 2023 in January. New episodes drop weekly, so subscribe via your favorite podcast platform to make sure you get the latest updates.
A central theme of CES 2023 is human security for all, an ideal that will be on display throughout the show. In this CES Tech Talk podcast, Garry Jacobs explains how technology improves key aspects of human security: Food access, healthcare, environmental protection and more. To support an improved human condition, CES has partnered with the renowned NGO that Garry leads, World Academy of Art and Science. The academy is a United Nations ally in the cause of human security for all. The goal of this collaboration is to harness tech innovation and align its champions toward sustainable solutions for the world’s greatest challenges, among them famine, disease, conflict and climate change.
How can tech bring about a safer, more stable world order? That’s a tough challenge Garry believes is attainable. Here’s an excerpt of the podcast Q&A, edited for length and clarity. Get the rest of the story here. For more expert insights into the latest consumer technology trends, visit the relaunched CES Tech Talk series of podcasts with all-new episodes for CES 2023.  
Why did the United Nations partner with the World Academy of Art and Science? And why did WAAS partner with CES? What brings these different groups together?
The last half century has seen remarkable advances in technology yet, with all our accomplishments, the world faces unprecedented challenges that require urgent responses, new innovative solutions, and we need technology to do that. 
We're looking to [Consumer Technology Association (CTA)®] to encourage creativity and innovative resources in the industry to see if businesses can address the issues that are of deep personal interest to people all over the world. That’s a challenge. I think that if companies have respect for the fact that yesterday's success is no guarantee for tomorrow, then we find ways of encouraging creativity without feeling threatened by it, of creating innovation and entrepreneurship to test out new models for solving problems.
A lot of the people come to CES from more established companies. What’s your message to someone who is motivated to join in human security initiatives but is challenged by their company’s size, for example, and having to convince 50 other people?
That is the challenge for all of us, and for every company. The world has never changed so rapidly as it’s changing now, and the rules that worked before, and the products that were the leaders before, are simply not guaranteed to work in the future.
The only way that we know of to change old ways of doing things is to bring in new generations and thinkers. I remember studying Intel about 35 years ago. They had introduced a course for what they called constructive confrontation. They were having the problem that their established executives were being challenged by new colleagues just out of Stanford or Berkeley. Intel leaders said, "Look, we need that challenge. We need it without creating resentment and resistance. We need to learn to hear from new voices because they're not wedded to the old ways of doing things."
I would be remiss if I didn't at least mention that sometimes human security issues aren't solved by technology. Sometimes they occur because of technology. Is there a framework that you encourage innovators to think about for positive technologies?
James, I'm really glad you asked that question because it goes back to the roots of why the World Academy of Art and Science was founded in 1960. The founders were people like Einstein and Robert Oppenheimer, the father of the Manhattan Project that created the atomic bomb. They lived to regret what they had done. They thought they were saving democracy but ended up endangering the whole world, including the world’s democracies. The academy was founded by people who felt that science cannot just invent in an ivory tower, and let somebody else worry about the results. The inventors have to have a sense of responsibility for what can happen.
Technology's a double-edged sword. The internet can be used for saving lives and educating millions. It can be used for espionage and criminal activity, as well. That's the nature of technology.
We can't afford unidimensional focusing anymore. We've got to equip our companies, our business leaders, and our technical people to understand the double-edged sword and consciously work to maximize the benefits while minimizing the side effects.
The companies that are really committed to the highest values are the ones that grow and thrive in the long run.  Top companies know the value of values, and know that it's not just a platitude. That’s a company’s most successful, sustainable business model.
As attendees will see on full display at CES 2023, technology is solving problems that threaten human and environmental wellbeing. As the same time, it’s promoting productivity and more empowered communities. See it, and be in it, this January in Las Vegas. Register today.

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