Former U.S. President Barack Obama joined Salesforce founder and co-CEO Marc Benioff for a conversation at Dreamforce 2019, the biggest tech conference of the year, in San Francisco.
Both tech-savvy leaders discussed many topics—including philanthropy, climate change, and youth leadership—but the main point of discussion was the importance of diversity in corporate boards and executive teams.
In addition to his main concern, which is climate change, Obama said he’s very concerned about the emergence of extreme inequality and the environment created by disruptive technology. Obama also stated that technology has caused greater inequality and a negative impact on society.
Obama told Salesforce co-CEO Marc Benioff at Salesforce’s Dreamforce annual conference in San Francisco that the world can look different if people are willing to step out of your comfort zone. “Part of what happens is that people don’t know what’s true and what’s not, and what to believe and what not to believe,” Obama said.
The second concern raised by Obama was about the increasing inequality between and among countries. He said the evolution of modern technologies has worsened inequalities and societal divisions. The third concern raised by him was the emergence of the Information Age as he sees negative effects on physical and mental health is because of social media and the internet.
Barack Obama said at Dreamforce, Salesforce’s annual tech conference, that climate change is the biggest problem today and he’s most worried about it. Obama said that modern culture today contributes to climate change by encouraging people to consume more.
Obama also said there is no denying the fact that new technology has given a larger reach to successful people, helping them become more successful and influential, but he also believes that technology has its bad sides. Obama also stated that he thinks about what could be done to ensure that every child has a good school and no one is left homeless on the streets.
Likewise, societal differences and inequalities became more apparent with the advent of social media and the Internet because different people use the internet in different ways and for different reasons.
“We have not adjusted our social institutions to ensure we benefit from this huge rise in productivity that comes from technology. Today’s culture, driven by technology and social media, leads to the pursuit of the wrong things”, Obama said. He also stated that currently one of the biggest challenges the world is facing is how to get a common conversation and a common culture.
Obama noted that this constant drive for greater and better things is part of an ongoing issue in today’s society, and instead of embracing what modern technology promotes, people need to step back and think about what their actual requirements are.
Furthermore, the former president of the United States said, “Diversity is not about charity,” explaining that different leadership perspectives are crucial for managing business organizations. “It is not something you do to be nice and kind.”