The human behind the (IT) professional; the human side of IT

man with glasses wearing a blue blouse
  • Chris Stapper
  • 03-03-2022
  • 4 min

The world of technology is changing rapidly and drives innovation beyond our wildest imagination. What are the next steps in AI, robotization, Internet of Things and blockchain?

The often-overlooked part is the human side of technology. Does the technology work for us, or do we work for the technology? Do we provide the technology with the right data? Does everyone benefit equally from our current technological capacity? These questions are prevalent throughout society. They also power the Human Side of IT event.

What is ‘good’ IT & you be you

The human behind the (IT) professional, to us, is part of the question of how to do ‘good’ IT anno 2022. Being one’s authentic self is part of what a person can bring to their team. But more importantly, being able to be yourself is one of the most important values a company should have. This means part of the sessions during the Human Side of IT event are about ‘the person behind the technology’. We were very happy to have the acclaimed workshop “Overcome resistance with the power of ‘verwondering‘” by Anne Colder. She took us through various Star Trek-themed exercises, where we learned about how to use respect, empathy, curiosity and an open mind in order to understand each other better and to overcome resistance. We were also thrilled to have a central keynote by Carolien Tijssen who shared her vision on psychological safety in teams and enriched her presentation with several practical ideas and interventions that can help your team move towards psychological safety.

Your safety feeling could be different from another's.

In the afternoon, Julia Jakimenko and Kim Cratsz from the Women in tech community gave a workshop that covered the importance of representation of women in IT and the impact of the pandemic on women’s work/life balance and maternity. We saw data and research, but this session also brought new insights and ideas through a lot of interaction with the audience.

To tech or not to tech? That is the question!

The other half of our sessions were focused on technology. We kicked our event off with an introduction by Marc Janssen, Head of the chapter Data & Innovation, followed by Pega’s Peter van der Putten who gave his presentation “Can empathy and AI coexist?”. Aside from being a very interesting talk, this also brought up lots of questions and discussion in the chat: what, precisely, is AI? What is the mind? Are humans programmed as well?

In between these tech giants, I’m very happy to say I was allowed to present my hobby project as well. I’ve calculated and compensated my lifetime CO2 emissions and gave some insight into the current options and technology that makes this possible and in how we can use that technology.

We were also very honored to have Chris Talbott from Google share his presentation “How Google is working on decarbonizing digital services at scale”. I’m very interested in both IT and carbon-related technology, so I really loved hearing about how Google uses Machine Learning among other things to make sure they only use sustainable energy. It was really inspiring, and it provides insight in how we will limit the effects of climate change by using technology in the future.

Moving forward

The Human Side of IT event always brings new insights, even for us as organizers. The power behind events like this is in starting the conversations – as Community Managers we make sure the right conversations can happen, and that everyone that needs to be involved is included. And like it or not, nowadays everyone is involved in the Human Side of IT. It is up to all of us to make this a good thing, to make sure the technology works for us. To make sure we, as a society, build software that is ethically correct, sustainable and inclusive. We very much will aim to make it so – and keep supporting our goal of Growing a better world together.

About the author

man with glasses wearing a blue blouse
Chris Stapper
Lead Community Manager

Chris is Lead Community Manager at Rabobank and loves connecting people. During his free time, he is an occasional speaker, philosophy student and beginner pianist.

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