“Technology without democracy could destroy us” Joey Adler
She has been named among Canada’s 100 most influential women. Joey Adler grew up in Montreal, she was CEO of Diesel Canada and she is known for her international philanthropic work, for her efforts to highlight the role of women in society, and for promoting the ethical and social use of innovation, new technologies and artificial intelligence: "we have to act against the use of technology used to create negativity in the world. That's my concern right now."
By: Elisa Villa Román
“When we meet each other and talk face to face, there is no religion, no creed or color, it’s a wonderful thing when we approach strangers like that. Joey Adler a leading innovation specialist has been promoting entrepreneurial social business since 2005,. After leaving the position of President and CEO of Diesel Canada in 2014, she conceived Dept of GOOD an innovative platform to help sme’s and innovative ideas come to the market place, the technology behind it is to be BLOCKCHAIN and she co-founded the technology company BLOQS4 with offices in Santiago Chile and HQ’d in Canada. This company is on the cutting edge of tech and sustainability as well as creating innovative business models that will be based in the new decentralized technologies for the benefit of the world.
Her first steps in entrepreneurship began in a world where there was little room for women in leadership positions "We felt forced to alter our personalities to try to fit in, sometimes trying to be more like men. There was more competition because there were also fewer jobs," explains Adler, who created the ONEXONE Foundation dedicated to the well-being of children around the world with programs on nutrition, health, education and gambling in places with high poverty rates. Joey Adler was born in Morocco and arrived very young in Montreal in 1963. She grew up in this metropolis and as an adult she built a successful career in business to the point that has been considered among Canada’s 100 most influential women. But the road wasn't easy.
Joey believes we're human with thousands of years of evolution that directly influence how we act and the roles we play. “We were raising our children where boys played with constructions sets and girls to dressed dolls. It changes the way how you think and how you make decisions. So, there have been a lot of changes in a very short period of time and our evolution has been under pressure with many changes not only gender roles but cultural changes, religion etc. We are moving forward and the challenges are great but with kindness and love Adler says things will work themselves out.
The ex-CEO has an opinion about this inequality: “I don’t think all women are good in networking: men are. Men help each other with networks, but many women do not. And also, women do not know how to ask”. But even if women are in clearly disadvantages, they do not need to emulate men to reach high positions. “Especially in culture, we can see different women roles around the world and you cannot change what has defined women for centuries in only one generation: you need to educate”.
Technology with democracy
“Technology is such an important thing for humanity, but unless we democratized, it is going to be the destruction of humanity. All the new decentralized technologies are going to be very powerful tools and how people use them could be very dangerous for society. We have to stand together as humanity and stand together against the use of technology to create negativity on this world. We cannot let technology destroy us. And that is what is happening now”, she said.
In accordance with The World Bank, the average of expenditure on scientific and technology research in the world has increased from 1.9% of GDP in 1960 to 2.22% in 2018. However, the way technology reaches to society has changed as innovations became common. “Big discoveries were about two centuries apart in the past. But in the last 50 years, we have seen accelerated discoveries and we as human beings are not enlightened it yet enough and be able to adapt to this incredible changes”.
Joey Adler has received the Queen Elizabeth Jubilee Award for Community Services and Two Honorary Doctorates: One in Law from Concordia University and one from the University of St. Mary's Business School. He has been a councillor in the Quebec Laurentians town of Esterel, north of Montreal, where fiscal planning went from a deficit to a surplus in the first three years. Now, Joey is writing a book about big discoveries that changed history, from a female perspective. “We have to start together against the use of technology to create negativity on this world. It must be a positive thing; this is my concern right now”.
Elisa Villa Román is a member of the communication committee of Affaires Internationales au Féminin and journalist of the newspaper El Universal in Mexico City.
Women who inspire us “Mujeres que nos inspiran” is a series of interviews that addresses the work of outstanding women who contribute with their work and professionalism to the development of a more prosperous and equitable society. The series is an initiative of Laura Ochoa President and Founder of Affaires Internationales au Féminin, a non-profit organization that aims to promote, through women, trade relations with countries that have agreements with Canada, as well as motivating and recognizing women for their participation and contribution in international projects.
This interview was conducted in collaboration Carlos Bracamonte editor of Revue Hispanophone.