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KelownaNow’s newest recurring column, Ask Ada, is a tribute to an original tech pioneer that many, if not most, have ever heard of. It is designed to explore the many questions our society has regarding technology, how it has integrated itself into our daily lives, and its effects.
Our goal is to find common ground, celebrate good news and most of all find balance in this hyper connected world.
So who am I? My name is Janice Taylor, a humbled entrepreneur, with roots from Saskatchewan that took me from my home to the Oprah Show to the underbelly of Silicon Valley.
Thankfully, some wise folks brought me to my resting place for the last 5 years. I built and run a tech company here in Kelowna (Mazu),and am one of a very small margin of sole female tech founders, not just in Canada, but worldwide.
I am a strong advocate for the rights of children, and continue to actively mentor women in recovery. Combined with my Psychology background and being a Mother, these all led me to focus on building a solution, a digital village, that protects children and teaches core values in a modern online society sometimes devoid of such things.
After 9 years trying to solve this puzzle, my experiences have shown me that we need a more grounded, personal, human approach.
In 1842, Ada Lovelace wrote the first line of an algorithm to be used inside of a machine.
Yes, it was a woman in England 150 years ago who had the vision to see what was possible, how machines could collapse time frames and change our lives.
Ada was most fascinated between the intersection of humans and society with these machines, and how we could use technology as a collaborative tool.
Today, as a female in tech who created a company that dissects the intersection of our humanity with technology, I often wonder if Ada ever fathomed if we would end up here?
As a parent, entrepreneur, and citizen I have observed that our desire to be innovative has also uncovered many unforeseen aspects of our humanity.
Does all this connectivity really amount to better relationships? What about our children? In the pursuit of innovation and capitalism it seems we have more questions about how tech has impacted our lives than solved our greatest desires.
Ada often wrote about the poetic science of mathematics and how technology impacts our community. Yet here we are 176 years later asking many of the same questions.
This column will be as our modern world is today, interactive.
With a throwback to the past, adding a ‘Dear Abby’ element. It will be an exploration of how our society, at the intersection of humanity and technology, deals with these unprecedented issues.
The famous Steve Jobs spoke of the multi-dimensions of our humanity and how technology must meet those dimensions. Yet, today we hear of privacy scandals, mental health awareness, tech addiction and most importantly how this is impacting our children.
There is plenty of technology that can be used for good. There are plenty of innovations that have created greater awareness and mindfulness. And yes, there are plenty of tech innovations that have been subverted and in my mind have set us back 50 years.
My hope is that ‘Ask Ada’ will be a trusted resource for you and your burning, tech related questions.
Your privacy will always be respected as I strive to provide the most balanced answers I can to the issues you bring to the table, being transparent in my thoughts/advice.
My mandate is that I will provide insights and answers that will earn your respect and your trust. I hope this column can serve as a guide through the valley of tech innovation as it disrupts many of our families lives.
Full disclosure: I will not be educating you on the “how to’s” of tech; instead, let’s explore the intersection of our collective humanity, and the values we live by as we use technology.
As we say at Mazu, people first, technology second. As citizens of Kelowna, let’s all strive to be committed to keeping families safe as we use technology. I hope that in the end we can all learn to love more and unite under the common umbrella of universality and use technology purely as a tool.
If you are seeking advice in the world of tech and how it affects you and your family, we encourage you to send an email to Askada@mazufamily.com and we will do our best to provide practical, insightful advice.
“That brain of mine is something more than merely mortal; as time will show.”
Ada Lovelace, 1815-1852
Janice Taylor is a social entrepreneur, mother, speaker, author and online safety advocate. Her credo of compassion, community and caring drives the vision of her company Mazu, a safe and fun online platform for families. Mazu gives parents a place to communicate, play and connect with their children in a starter social media environment.