True North Tech for Good Declaration: The Canadian tech industry’s living document

November 1, 2018 | True North Team

In May, 2018, a group of attendees to the first-ever True North conference created a set of guiding principles that all aspiring organizations can follow to create and use technology for the good of humanity: the Tech for Good Declaration.

Each of the principles were generated through collaborative, facilitated discussions that explored questions about what it means to be human in a tech-driven world and how to design technologies with human well-being in mind. Participants arrived at six imperatives:

  • Build trust and respect your data.
  • Be transparent and give choice.
  • Reskill the future of work.
  • Leave no one behind.
  • Think inclusively at every stage.
  • Actively participate in collaborative governance.

At the True North conference, the Declaration was signed by 49 organizations and 45 individuals, including Primal AI, a prominent Canadian AI company and provider of semantic search tools.

Jeff McDowell, COO of Primal AI echoes the concerns of the declaration. “The incredible potential of AI to improve our lives will only be realized if there is ethical oversight into the data inputs and practical outputs of AI solutions.

“We built our AI platform with two important principles in mind: that the security of data is crucial, and that the output of our AI has to be explainable. A human can see how our platform works and understand why it delivered the outcomes that it did.”

Significant momentum was initiated at True North 2018, and membership continues to grow. The Tech for Good Declaration is a living document built to create an ongoing dialogue between all Canadians about the meaning that will continue to be relevant for all organizations that develop, implement and make use of technology. The declaration will be adjusted and updated to reflect the input of participants.

Communitech, the Rideau Hall Foundation and our network of partners will continue to draw attention to the Declaration and its principles over the months leading up to the return of the True North conference on June 19-20 2019. The goal is to increase the number of organizations and individuals that contribute to and sign the Declaration, while ensuring that the document continues to evolve. Watch this space for news, events, tools and opportunities to get involved.