Greater Equity Through Technology

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Monday, June 26, 2023
Technology has the potential to promote community engagement, transform organizations, and bridge societal divides—but only if it is accessible to all.
Featuring Sherif Kamel, The American University in Cairo, and Ian Williamson, University of California, Irvine
  • The role of technology has become increasingly significant in most aspects of our lives, with heightened acceleration in recent years.
  • Business schools have a responsibility to ensure equal access to technology and promote its development through community engagement.
  • Embracing technology as a solution across all disciplines, and leveraging it for operational transformation, can help connect and advance society.


Sherif Kamel: [0:15] The role of technology in our lives is extremely important. A lot of people think and say that we used more technology after the pandemic. Uh, I don’t think so.

[0:27] The role of technology came to our lives when we started buying computers at home. And then it got accelerated with the internet, and the web, and then mobility, of course.

[0:36] Surely, the pace of acceleration actually went up drastically over the last few years, but we see the increasing role of technology in virtually whatever we do.

[0:48] That’s a very important opportunity to include more people, having more equity across the society.

The pace of acceleration actually went up drastically over the last few years, but we see the increasing role of technology in virtually whatever we do.

Ian Williamson: [0:59] When we think about technology, how is it that we are going to ensure that all communities are able to access technology, and more importantly, contribute to the development of technology through commercial activity.

[1:10] And that today is a story that we’re struggling with as a society. Not all communities have had equal access, not all communities have been able to create technology-related companies that provide services that enhance the well-being of everyone.

[1:24] So for us, this is a four-part process. This is about engagement with community—working with high schools, community colleges, getting that pipeline of talent that gets excited about coming to our university to study these things.

[1:35] It’s about content. This is our professors being very diligent in understanding, how are we weaving in various forms of technology across all disciplines—not just the IS subjects or the finance subjects, but every discipline that we teach.

[1:48] How are we showing that technology is enabling or changing that discipline so that our students feel comfortable going to technology as a solution for a problem.

Technology could be the platform to close divides, provided that there is universal access, within communities but also across communities.

Kamel: [1:57] So, I think the role of technology is going to grow as we move forward. We moved from tech to high tech, now we’re going to deep tech, and we’re just scratching the surface when it comes to things like machine learning and artificial intelligence.

[2:13] I look at this very positively. It’s going to create opportunities to reach out and, hopefully, minimize some of the divides in the societies around the world—we talk about digital divides, but there are many other divides—technology could be the platform to close those divides, provided that there is universal access, within communities but also across communities, to access technology and innovation.

Williamson: [2:38] To do this well, to reach people where they are, it’s more than just having them in the classroom.

[2:43] It’s about being able to have tools that allow us to use digital technology to teach in remote areas, or people who are working, and having other ways to engage people so they become comfortable not just learning about the technology but using it for their own edification, their own ability to learn.

[2:58] And finally, it’s also us as an organization operationally going through a transformation—the digital transformation. Becoming more savvy about data and how that changes our perspectives on supporting and measuring student success.

[3:10] So through this process of external engagement and content and complementary capabilities and then our own transformation, we hope to both deliver this but also be a role model for organizations about how we can embrace technology as a driver of success.

The views expressed by contributors to AACSB Insights do not represent an official position of AACSB, unless clearly stated.
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