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IBM seeks ‘national dialogue’ on the role of technology in society

IBM, which recently announced it will no longer develop facial recognition software, wants to stimulate discussions on the role of technology in society.

In an interview with Digital Trends Live, Jason Kelley, IBM’s general manager for Blockchain Services discussed the reason behind the company’s decision to stop development of facial recognition.

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“We wanted to lead a national dialogue about the productive use of technology in the criminal justice system to make sure that we continued our effort as a responsible steward of technology,” said Kelley. “Let’s start this dialogue, figure out how we can use advanced technologies in order to advance this effort towards equality and justice as we see that in the criminal enforcement and justice system.”

Diversity and inclusion

Kelley said that diversity and inclusion have been part of IBM’s culture for many years, stretching back to former IBM Chairman and CEO Thomas Watson’s policy letter #4, written in 1953, that called for an equal opportunity workplace.

“We fast-forward now, and we have to ask you, why are we having this conversation now?” Kelley told DT Live.

Kelley said it is still an issue due to the pattern of racial injustice, He also said that it’s time for IBM to take action, as the company recognized the issue of systematic bias throughout the U.S., as well as the need for racial justice.

IBM is also supporting legislation that aims to make education easier to attain and more flexible for the current population. Kelley mentioned IBM’s P-TECH, a six-year program that equips graduates with an associate degree, and SkillsBuild, which provides virtual training to help fill the 700,000 technology jobs that are unanswered every year.

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