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The intersection of technology and society continues to evolve, shaping our daily lives in profound ways, but should we embrace these changes or pull back?

In search of answers, ‘the mentl space’ podcast travelled to Saudi Arabia for the Sync Summit, a major conference exploring digital well-being and the paradox presented by the evolution of technology.

This episode features a number of key speakers as we explore their unique perspectives and shed light on crucial aspects of technology’s impact on individuals and the broader community.

Nina Hersher, chief learning officer with the US-based Digital Wellness Institute, raised critical questions about the proficiency of individuals in understanding and managing the intricate algorithms driving technology. She shared poignant anecdotes underscoring the gap between users and the sophisticated technology they engage with daily.

Wadha Alnafjan, Head of Digital Wellbeing (Sync) at Ithra, outlined the goals of the Sync Summit and discussed the impact of technology on mental health, the need to measure its effects and find a balance between technology use and social life. (available only in the audio version).

Meanwhile, Michael Hodgkinson, vice president EMEA of PSB Insights dove into findings of the report he led, the Digital Wellbeing Global Survey 2024 which spanned 35 countries. Among it’s findings was that some 71% believe we should pause developing AI until regulations are in place.  Michael underscored the challenge of finding the right balance between self-regulation and external regulation in the tech sector. He emphasized the importance of serious leadership and potential legislation to tackle the inherent complexities effectively.

Nahida Nayaz Ahmed, chief medical officer of Sakina, the newly launched UAE mental health and wellbeing service emphasized the need for leadership to address the complexities of technology’s influence on society, pointing to the necessity for external intervention due to the failure of self-regulation mechanisms.

Oli Barrett, the Chief Network Officer at Connector, highlighted the pressing need to embrace digital well-being. Barrett underscored the unstoppable advancement of technology and the importance of harnessing it for the benefit of our future generations.

And Amy Blankson, chief evangelist with the Digital Wellness Institute dove into concerns about the growing concerns surrounding the addictive nature of technology and the paradoxical behavior of users who acknowledge its negative impacts while increasing their usage.

Dive into this episode as we discuss if, by addressing these challenges head-on, we can strive towards a more balanced integration of technology into our lives, ensuring a future where innovation enriches rather than damages our collective well-being.