By Laura Lorek
Publisher with Silicon Hills News

London Mayor Sadiq Khan spoke during the afternoon keynote at South by Southwest on Monday about the need for technological advancements to benefit everyone in society.

There’s an increasing disconnect and disillusionment across London and worldwide stemming from fear of globalization, he said.

Technology is profoundly changing people’s lives, he said.

“Technology is disrupting and shifting the way we do everything,” Khan said.

“How we deal with this transformation will be a defining challenge of the 21st century,” Khan said.

The fourth industrial revolution has created a new era where exponential change can spread across the world quickly.

Today, a handful of tech companies have amassed an enormous amount of power over how information is consumed. Platforms like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube have brought tremendous benefits to society, but there are growing concerns about how some of those companies are impacting our lives, Khan said.

There has already been evidence of elections and referendums being influenced, A rise in online abuse, misogyny and religious hatred. Fake news spreading misinformation. Algorithms blinkering us from different points of view and pushing people to extremists. And terrorists and far-right groups using social media to not only conspire but to radicalize and brainwash others.

“All of this is dividing and polarizing us, rather than uniting us. I know this all too well from personal experience,” Khan said.

Then Khan read half a dozen horrific hated filled Tweets calling him names and making all kinds of threats against his life that he had received as Mayor of London. He didn’t read them to portray himself as a victim or ask for sympathy. He wanted to create awareness that this is the kind of harassment some people routinely face in online platforms.

Tech companies, innovators, must take responsibilities for how their platforms are used, Khan said. He also called on politicians and policymakers to look out for the public and pass regulation when necessary.

Khan also made a big push for gender equality and has launched the #BehindEveryGreatCity campaign to highlight and support women.