T Track

The New Technological Era: Challenges and Opportunities for Youth

Betts Theatre


Bradley Michelson, Director of Business Development, Idealist

Sarah Awan, Manager, PwC Digital

Alan McQuinn, Senior Policy Analyst, Information Technology and Innovation Foundation

Zeluis Teixeira, Director of Acceleration and Operational Excellence, PeaceTech Lab

Marcela Zeballos, Managing Director, YouthMappers


Advancements in technology are accelerating at an exceptional rate, and the technological breakthroughs of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, such as artificial intelligence, automation, biotechnology, and blockchain are redefining how people engage with the world. Although many of these new developments hold great potential to increase productivity and creativity in the workplace, spread knowledge around the world and support humanitarian efforts, there are also many challenges that come with such rapid changes in technology. The number of concerns regarding the future job market, privacy and security, and the influence of fake and false information is on the rise. This panel will analyze both the positive and negative implications of the major technological trends and offer advice on how youth can best take advantage of the opportunities of tech innovation while avoiding the many risks.

Possible Discussion Points:

  • What do you think are the most important technological trends in the world today? How about in 20 years time?
  • How will these major tech changes affect the global economy? Is there cause for more optimism or concern?
  • How will these changes affect developing countries? Will they share in the benefits, or is there a risk of increased global inequality?
  • There is significant discussion recently around innovations in AI, automation, IoT, biotechnology, etc. What are the leading practical benefits of these for the youth of today? What are the leading risks youth need to be aware of?
  • Youth typically face much higher than average rates of unemployment, and now some predictions suggest that new technology puts almost half of all jobs at risk from automation. So, should young people be fearful of expanding technology, and how can they prepare for this?
  • Will these new technologies foster peace and accountability, or could they equally become tools for criminals, autocrats or violent groups?
  • Does the rise of social media help expand free speech or make censorship easier? Does it promote better global support and understanding, or increase division and tension through false information?
  • How can we find a balance between the protection of privacy and security concerns – who should have control over regulation?
  • What implications might new technologies have in increasing or reducing inequality?