Our next guests are Afua Bruce and Amy Sample Ward, authors of The Tech That Comes Next. We’re going to spend 60 minutes diving into their book, and how their incredible backgrounds in government and public sector innovation led them to write it.
About the book
This is a book about technology. This is a book about equity. This is a book about the way we meet community needs. More than anything, this is a book that asks you to ask questions and join us in stretching our imaginations so that we can embrace change more rapidly and intentionally toward a world that works for all of us.
The Tech That Comes Next explores the implications of our use, creation, and funding of technology today and how social impact organizations, technologists, funders, policy makers, and–most importantly–communities can work together to change it all. From culture change within tech organizations to software development paradigms and even the shifting policy and legal landscape, this book offers a deep dive into the questions that arise when we bring tech and justice to the same table.
Afua and Amy are experienced practitioners who have collectively worked in technology development and deployment, philanthropy, social impact organizations, policy, and more. Their experiences offer an important perspective that make this book both a practical resource and a guide to building something new. Underneath it all is a question and a challenge: how do we change what we value? Inside that question lies the opportunities for all of us to be part of creating a better world and the technology that is part of it.
Meet the authors
Afua Bruce is a leading public interest technologist who has spent her career working at the intersection of technology, policy, and society. She’s also been a regular contributor to FWD50 over the years.
Her career has spanned the government, non-profit, private, and academic sectors, as she has held senior science and technology positions at DataKind, the White House, the FBI, and IBM.
Afua has a bachelor’s degree in computer engineering, as well as an MBA.
Amy Sample Ward is driven by a belief that the nonprofit technology community can be a movement-based force for positive change. They are the CEO of NTEN, a nonprofit creating a world where missions and movements are more successful through the skillful and equitable use of technology.
Amy’s second book, Social Change Anytime Everywhere, was a Terry McAdam Book Award finalist.
Reactions to The Tech That Comes Next
“Afua Bruce and Amy Sample Ward have joined forces to lay out a unique and timely vision for the future of technology. In this future, technology improves our lives and reinforces community power by functioning as a part of larger, community-centered processes of daily life and social change. In this future, technology does not pretend to be neutral. In this future, technology production, maintenance and evolution are processes that occur with deep community support. This support is bolstered by the community-centered practices of funders, policymakers, and technologists. Rather than oversimplifying with how-tos, Bruce and Sample Ward create a framework for discussions within and between critical groups who work in this space (communities, technologists, social impact organizations, funders, and policymakers) to examine what building this future will require of us today.”
– Danielle Robinson, Executive Director, Code for Science and Society
“Fundamentally, this book is about asking the right questions, with an eye towards how we can create the communities we want to live and thrive in together. For all the talk of our technological futures or worlds, we have to ground ourselves in the knowledge that we inhabit the material world. This world requires us to provide food, shelter, companionship, and care for each other. Amy and Afua invite us to stay rooted in keeping people at the forefront of our thinking and designing of technology and the policies that guide its deployment in our lives. It’s a sobering and reflective call for those of us working to steward a better future for ourselves and our children.“
– Andreen Soley, Director, Public Interest Technology, New America
“Change isn’t a checklist; it’s a conversation. Amy and Afua invite us to dream of a better, more equitable future – and to take the steps necessary to make it a reality. By opening our minds to inspiration from others who are similarly engaged in community-centered approaches to creation and use of technology, we can move past the broken systems of the past and create a more equitable tomorrow.”
– Rick Cohen, Chief Operating Officer, National Council of Nonprofits
“Aligning technology with our community values can feel like a Rubik’s Cube where there are multiple parts of a puzzle that affect each other. The Tech That Comes Next expertly ties together the important roles played by technologists, funders, policymakers, and social impact organizations and offers readers an invaluable holistic framework to tackle seemingly intractable problems related to improving our tech future. As authors Afua Bruce and Amy Sample Ward emphasize since humans create technology it can’t be neutral. By recentering the discussion around our agency and promoting a culture of collaboration, I’m optimistic that the tech that comes next will be far better than where we are.”
– David Ryan Polgar, Founder and Director, All Tech Is Human