Huawei's Catherine Chen: Believe in the Power of Technology

Staff ni Anjie
The Connected for Shared Prosperity Forum was held at Jumeirah Himalayas Hotel in Shanghai by Huawei, Global Mobile Association (GSMA), Center of Environmental Economics of Fudan University, and The Paper. Participants participated both online and in-person to address the importance of emerging technology in sustainable development for a healthier, connected planet, representing organizations worldwide, including foreign business regulators and think tanks from China, Malaysia, Spain, Thailand, Hungary, and Portugal. More than 1000 participants from over 50 countries attended the conference online.

Huawei's Catherine Chen: Believe in the Power of Technology
Huawei's Catherine Chen: Believe in the Power of Technology

Chen Lifang, Huawei Senior Vice President and Board Member, delivered a keynote speech titled "Believe in the Power of Technology," where she explained how technology can be used as an engine for human development. Although calling on individuals and companies to think large and act small, Chen affirmed her support of the UN's sustainable development goals and building a green, creative and inclusive planet. The full text of her speech can be found below:

We've always had mixed emotions about 2020. The pandemic has changed our lives. Many things we take for granted no longer exist, and our beliefs have shifted. My greatest lesson from the past year has been just how hard it is for society to find a consensus. There seems to be endless debate and dispute, from determining whether it's appropriate to enforce lockdowns to debating whether it's worth it to wear a mask.

Today, we've come together to address the United Nations' 17 Sustainable Development Goals. I, personally, believe that technology is key to advancing these goals, and together, we must do two things to completely harness the power of technology and accelerate sustainable growth.

See Also: Huawei Is Open To 5G Technology Transfer To Drive Global Innovation

Our first challenge will be to find an honest consensus about whether technology is an agent of human development.

Looking back through history, we've seen how major societal shifts happen in lockstep with breakthroughs in science and technology. But today, technical advances are hyped and politicized, often demonized. Many have stopped trusting in the potential of technology because of fear and mistrust. Some are going to great lengths to obstruct the advancement of technology.

I recently read a paper that said that any significant digital platform controlled by China would be highly dangerous to the US if not effectively contained and that 5G was one such platform.

5G is a standardized technology characterized by its high bandwidth, low latency, and broad connectivity. It helps conventional industries transform and can benefit everyone. Wide-scale 5G rollout can now be seen in various industries around the world. Every-day, customers benefit from 5G experiences, while industrial usage in seaports, mines, and the transportation sector is rising operational efficiency. Is this a negative thing? I don’t think so.

If we believe that technology is critically necessary, but its implementation is ideologically incorrect, this can only result in discord, uncertainty, and regression. We must find a global consensus on this issue and believe in the capacity of technology to harness it for the community's good.

Of course, there is always the danger that someone will misuse a new technology. This is not a new issue. But since the industrial revolution, we have seen how developing rules to handle technical risks will safeguard us. Via laws, technological advances will cross national borders and enhance everyone's livelihood without incurring unnecessary danger. We are entering a digital age, and many are hard at work designing the governance rules for cybersecurity, privacy protection and trusted AI that will keep us secure. For the rest of us, it’s time to be optimistic and open to technological growth.

Our second challenge will be taking resolute steps to make technology truly effective/ and build value for everyone.

It may be hard to find a consensus, but it is easy to shut down technology. For businesses, believing in tech may start from something small. For example, let's look at the minimum viable product principle. Typically, MVP refers to the product development stage where what you've created only meets the most important consumer requirements by using the smallest amount of capital. The MVP can then be continuously iterated and refined after its launch.

Building wide consensus is challenging, but we can rely on this MVP principle to help technical progress continue. By concentrating on the limited shared knowledge, we have right now, and by keeping in mind what tools are currently available, we can push change step by step. Iteration means fine. Fostering conflict would entail stagnation.

Huawei has always embraced technical innovation. We assume, fundamentally, tech benefits humanity. We also believe digital tech will help the UN achieve its SDGs. Already, Huawei has explored many applications of digital tech led by the SDGs.

Huawei's Smart PV solution is being widely used in more than 60 countries to minimize carbon emissions by 148 million tons. This is the equivalent of planting more than 200 million trees. In Ethiopia alone, we have helped our customers deploy over 400 solar power stations, lowering carbon emissions by 2,850 tons. In China, we have also helped create the world's largest solar stations dedicated to agriculture and fishing in Ningxia and Shandong provinces.

What’s more, Huawei and UNESCO launched the Open Schools initiative over the course of a three-year collaboration to help schools in Egypt, Ethiopia, and Ghana develop their digital skills with online education.

Every one of these examples, every single link, every gram of pollution reduced, every watt of electricity saved, every small change we've made couldn't have been done without small improvements in tech. This is the importance tech brings to the world.

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