As the fourth Industrial revolution unfolds, every piece of information about the analogue world is now being stored digitally – be it the vaccination records for our children or the review from our last holiday. As a society, we are increasingly storing information about our lives across many topics including, transactions data, money, identity, reputation, personal & corporate data amongst others.

With every new type of information stored, new opportunities present themselves for entrepreneurs to build new frontiers of commerce using data to drive insights and competitive advantage. Its also the age of the digital experience which we know can be a winning formula as we have seen with Uber for example, the need for getting from A to B via a physical taxi hasn’t changed but the friction has been removed by focussing on the client experience.

With greater volumes of data comes greater responsibility. As guardians of our customers data, are we asking ourselves the right questions to challenge how we are being responsible, for example

  1. It is easy to collect data but are we collecting it responsibly?
  2. Are we removing data that is not relevant or haven’t asked for permission to keep?
  3. Do we use our data ethically for our customers benefit or for ours?

We know Data can be an incredible differentiator, used wisely it can improve our experiences, save time and give our customers much better outcomes. The ideology of Technology has also changed and AI has changed what’s possible but unfortunately some things remain impossible, for example censorship is seen as a challenge but how and who moderates?

Whether we realise it or not this generation is in the process of writing a “Digital Constitution” for future generations. This becomes very pertinent for example, when you think of immutable data contained in Blockchains and in some ways society is making the rules up as it goes. It’s a battle to keep pace with the volumes of data being generated so our focus is on ensuring we build the trust with our customers and challenge ourselves to get the balance right between societal well being and corporate profits. Our focus on proactive cyber security, multiple gatekeeping technologies, data cleaning & unbiasing as well as technologies like Blockchain that promise solutions to bridge the trust gaps in a digital way are all key areas.  Our second response is around the human element, our ability to include all cognitive and diverse viewpoints both internally and externally helps us deal with the challenges in a more empathetic way.

Enter Digital Trust – it is about the intersection of purpose & profits with trust being the link.. and that is probably a good starting point for a healthy digital constitution.

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Please note the article was originally published on NASSCOM website in February 2020.

The opinions expressed are author's own. Fidelity International is not responsible for the author's opinions.