Today, May 17, is Internet Day – a day celebrated throughout the world to pay tribute to the innovators who have leveraged it to make the world a better place. 2020 taught us many things. The pandemic evidenced how vital internet access is to saving lives and disseminating life or death information. It helped us hold on to a semblance of normalcy by connecting us to our friends on the other side of the world. And it enabled us to work and learn remotely, discovering a new world of work which in many respects has given us the flexibility and work-life balance that many only dreamed of.
Ever since I discovered the power of technology, I have made it my mission to leverage it to create opportunities for people around the world, as well as to empower women to become financially independent.
I believe that the internet isn’t just a great amplifier of our strengths that helps us build a better tomorrow, but it is also a human right, and it should be treated as such. Governments should work together with the private sector to make sure it is accessible to everyone (be it free or at a low cost). Because as we experienced during COVID 19, the internet didn’t only save lives but gave us access to information, education, and global employment.
The world is catching up, and moving in the right direction. In the summer of 2016, the UN General Assembly passed a non-binding Resolution that declared internet access a human right, reaffirming that “the same rights people have offline must also be protected online.”* But, this is just a start. We need to continue to advocate for access, because the Internet has and will continue to change our lives for the better.
*The addition that was made to Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), states: “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.”
Four things that I love about the internet
1. Global connection
Firstly, it has allowed for a global connection. As the OECD states in their 2016 Ministerial Meeting on the Digital Economy, “The Internet is the backbone of the digital economy, it underpins much of the world’s social activity, and it is a powerful catalyst for innovation, economic growth, and social well-being.
2. Access to information
In today’s age of constant misinformation and ubiquitous fake news, the internet allows for instant access to millions and millions of different sources, helping one develop an informed opinion. You don’t just have access to your local library, but you have access to every single library in the world, and can learn about different cultures and countries, from reading about the history Tanahunsur, a small village in Nepal, from the comfort of your own home to finding the perfect Italian roast coffee near your house.
3. Workplace revolution
The internet has also drastically changed the way we work and collaborate with each other. Thanks to remote work people don’t have to be tied to cities for their jobs, they aren’t limited by geographic location. In fact, remote work isn’t just beneficial for workers, but it’s also incredibly beneficial for the environment as well as cost-effective for companies.
In many ways, remote work also levels the playing field for people by allowing them to apply for jobs without location restrictions, increasing the team’s diversity and inclusivity. (interestingly, my team is made up of people from more than 5 different countries, each with very different life experiences, which only makes our work richer.)
During the 4.0 Revolution, internet access democratized the possibility of innovation for all those dreamers, creators, entrepreneurs, and visionaries who seek to make an impact in the world. What used to be in the hands of the few, now is available to all.
It was thanks to the internet that I launched my companies and most recently –alongside a crew of amazing entrepreneurs– Unicorn Hunters, a series that is on the hunt for the next game-changing technology to change the world.