RobotRepublicDuuk Baten — At the recent Techfestival 2017 here in Denmark, some 16,000 tech people converged on Copenhagen to discuss the impact of technology on society. It was during this event last week that the Copenhagen Letter emerged.

The letter was the result of a day-long meeting of 150 festival participants who wanted to make their voices heard about the values and principles that ought to guide technology. Here’s an excerpt of the letter:

“It is time to take responsibility for the world we are creating. Time to put humans before business. Time to replace the empty rhetoric of “building a better world” with a commitment to real action. It is time to organize, and to hold each other accountable ….

Tech … should be governed by all of us, by our democratic institutions. It should play by the rules of our societies. It should serve our needs, both individual and collective, as much as our wants …

Progress is more than innovation. We are builders at heart. Let us create a new Renaissance. We will open and nourish honest public conversation about the power of technology. We are ready to serve our societies. We will apply the means at our disposal to move our societies and their institutions forward … “

Read, respond to or sign the Copenhagen Letter here.

Such initiatives as the Copenhagen Letter are critical to our field and the humans we ultimately serve. New innovation in robotics are published every day and potentially stand to impact our society in important ways we need to think about. Think of people wanting to remove humans out of the decision loop of robotics or the use of autonomous drones as taxis in Dubai. Think of the lesson the late Stanislav Petrov taught us when he saved the world from nuclear war back in the early 1980s.

For RobotRepublic, I’m Duuk Baten.

Here’s a TechFestival 2017 video with some more of the highlights of what went on in Copenhagen.