Crown Prince Hussein of Jordan delivered the keynote address at the TechWadi Annual Forum 2020 in Silicon Valley last Thursday.
The Crown Prince, who graduated from university in Washington D.C., addressed 400 representatives of international ICT companies, stressing that the industry has the most impact on society. He also called on people to be put at the heart of technological progress.
He began by saying, “I know that, at first glance, it may seem that we come from different worlds. Mine is about public service, diplomacy and the military. Yours is defined by technology, innovation, and business. Thousands of miles and a vast ocean separate this stage and the place I call home.
“Yet, the connection between Silicon Valley and the Arab world is natural. After all, the Arab world is the original start-up garage.”
Let that be the next big tech trend: humanity. It is the right thing, and it is the smart thing.Crown Prince Hussein
The Crown Prince mentioned how algebra, the first algorithms, and Arabic numerals were created by the Arabs. He then spoke of how the technology industry is in crisis as they “with the loss of the public’s trust” and face “difficult questions.”
Hussein then addressed how Jordan has confronted their own crises, “Where I come from, we know a thing or two about how to get through crises and make tough choices. We’ve weathered a financial crisis and regional instability. We are surrounded by conflict, and as a result, we’ve had a massive influx of refugees.
“Today, Jordan is one of the largest hosts of refugees in the world.
“We made a choice. We opened our borders. Did it make economic sense? Absolutely not. Our national debt grew, as did our rate of unemployment. Housing, food, energy, healthcare, education—all felt the pressure.
“We did it for a very simple reason: it was the right thing to do. For some, politics is about power. For us, it’s about people.”
View this post on Instagram
علينا أن نضع الإنسانية في صلب التقدم التكنولوجي، وأن نتابع تأثير التكنولوجيا على المجتمع، فلتكن الإنسانية هي التوجه التالي الذي تركز عليه التكنولوجيا We must put people at the heart of technological progress… look at the impact of products on society’s balance sheet. Let that be the next big tech trend: humanity’’
Focusing on how people need to be at the heart of technology, His Royal Highness remarked, “We must put people at the heart of technological progress; look at the impact of products on society’s balance sheet; and pair profit with purpose.
“Let that be the next big tech trend: humanity. It is the right thing, and it is the smart thing.”
He later stressed, “I’ve learnt that changing rules and laws is often the easy part. Changing mind-sets is challenging, but it is possible. It’s possible when great minds, like those gathered here, come together and decide to prioritise it.”
Jordan’s future monarch then broke the stereotypes around his country by saying it is safe, welcoming and generous. He also invited those in attendance to visit Jordan to see it firsthand. He said that Jordan is often hidden behind Middle Eastern conflicts and touched the peace his grandfather, the late King Hussein, worked on ahead of his death.
His full speech can be read here.