Sync Summit 2024: Cautious Optimism

(MENAFN- Asdaf News)

Dhahran – Asdaf News:

The Sync Digital Wellbeing Summit 2024 held at the King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture (Ithra) in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia on May 22 – 23, 2024 was a call-to-action about a critical topic at a time of momentous change. The summit featured an illustrious program of over 70 speakers - industry professionals, academics, scientists, healthcare providers, government officials and innovation experts – from around the world, ranging from Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak and Wired magazine co-founder Kevin Kelly to the renowned Portuguese football manager José Mourinho and AI data scientist Rumman Chowdhury.

Filled with 13,000 visitors, Ithra had a full house for the Sync Summit. The summit's primary theme was“Confronting the Digital Paradox,” with the goal of considering“whether we have the power and intention to ensure that the future of technology is serving us, rather than us serving it.” The speakers and panels took a largely optimistic view about the opportunities for progress if we - the global, digital community - are ethically cautious and carefully informed about how we employ, regulate and interact with the expanding role of digital technology in our lives.

The most commonly consumed representations of digital culture, including by reputable news outlets, tend to focus on the negative: addiction to social media, cyberbullying, increasing isolation and the effects on mental health by the ever-more effective online platform-driven“attention industry.” Many of the summit's conversations were centered around harm reduction by focusing on education, physical and mental health, and decreasing the impact of bad actors on the lives of the online innocent. For a number of attendees, the most moving presentation was the heroic truth-telling of Kristen Bride, whose 16-year-old son committed suicide after being cyberbullied. In response to this tragedy, Bride became a social media reform advocate who works tirelessly to save the lives of others.

A large part of the summit's discussion, however, took a cautiously optimistic tone. A pervasive idea of the summit was that our problems are real, but that they are opportunities because innovative solutions propel progress. The audience was encouraged repeatedly to be positive - even optimistic - and take a long-term view of societal change because that is a perspective that can perceive the slow march of persistent progress, rather than getting caught in the news and its over-emphasis on the latest attention-grabbing crisis of the moment.

One of Sync's recent achievements is the Global Digital Wellbeing Survey published in 2024 that was completed last year by over 35,000 adults from 35 countries around the world. This study, the largest of its kind, seeks to provide data and insights about“how to reap the benefits of the information age while simultaneously promoting health, safety, social cohesion and more.” While digital wellbeing is increasingly a hot global topic, Ithra's Sync is seeking to ensure that the conversation and related policy research are informed by robust data. Sync's research and the international gathering of experts and cutting-edge ideas at the 2024 Sync Summit are a model for the world as we step, however incrementally or exponentially, towards the future.

For more information on Ithra's Sync Digital Wellbeing Initiative visit


Asdaf News

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