Harman CEO: Digital Innovation Can Have a Positive Impact on Society
Companies can’t afford to lose sight of social values in pursuit of profit. After all, social responsibility instills trust, which helps to create a better user experience, says Dinesh Paliwal, CEO of connected car and audio company Harman International—a subsidiary of Samsung Electronics, No. 12 on Fortune’s Global 500 list of the world’s largest companies.
Paliwal tells Fortune that Harman does its part to help society with investments in education. For one, supporting music education fits well for Harman, given its product portfolio. STEM and women education initiatives are also part of the company’s commitment to social responsibility.
A company’s impact on society matters, he says—especially if it plans to remain in business for the long haul. “If you are compromising your moral values, you cannot sustain for too long,” says Paliwal.
Autonomous driving is one market where Harman is focused on socially responsible innovation. “Autonomous for the sake of technology doesn’t mean anything,” says Paliwal. “We can hopefully eliminate human error in driving. Also, we spend three hours a day sitting in a car; we can add 1% of GDP with more productive use of that time.”
Paliwal adds that supercomputers are being taught how human instincts work, whether in a lab at MIT or in a corporate incubator. “True autonomous or semi-autonomous will happen in late 2028 to 2030; until then, we’ll see incremental improvement on advanced driver assistance,” says Paliwal.
In other words, there’s reason to be hopeful as companies develop solutions for the long-term benefit of society—in this case, for the benefit of human safety and productivity.
Watch the video above for more from Fortune’s interview with Paliwal.
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