Unfinished Live, held September 2022 in New York City and virtually, invited leading experts and engaged people to contribute to shaping our digital future where new technologies and policies enable a stronger democracy, a fairer economy, and a more just society. The annual conference is held by Independent Sector member Unfinished, which works to strengthen our civic life in the digital age.

Independent Sector recruited a cohort of leaders from organizations that support underrepresented and underserved communities to attend Unfinished Live. Their attendance and subsequent reflections help support our storytelling project to amplify and learn from their experiences and how they see a new web creating more opportunities for the communities they serve.

Robb King, a Washington, DC community leader and founder and owner of Blume Theory Strategies LLC, attended Unfinished Live and shared his reflections with us.

With the support of Independent Sector, I attended Unfinished Live in New York City this past September. The conference – aimed at thinking through the creation of a diverse, just, equitable digital future – was an eye-opening experience filled with moments of inspiration and more moments of concern. As I reflected on my conference experience, I found myself fixated upon Sydney J. Harris’ quote above.

Now, I am a skeptic, and I believe a healthy dose of skepticism is critical for the curious mind seeking truth. As someone who has built a professional and public life around questioning and tackling tech injustices, my skepticism was fully present throughout this conference. I often find that tech conferences hyperfocus on the positive possibilities of new tools and rarely address the harmful probabilities.

So, I was pleasantly surprised and elated when Shoshana Zuboff, an American author, Harvard professor, social psychologist, philosopher, and scholar, opened the conference with a conversation about her work regarding surveillance capitalism – capitalism that profits from watching and tracking individuals. With such a strong, clear start grounded in a progressive ideology, I assumed the conference would be something that it did not quite fulfill – a diverse, just, equitable space building towards a similar digital future. Though I left disappointed, I learned three valuable lessons.

Read the full article about equity in tech by Robb King at Independent Sector.