Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Who knows best when creating technology?

What attempts are being made to ‘improve reality’ and who are the real beneficiaries of bids to mould the future to the vision of a few, powerful actors? STEPS Centre PhD student Justin Pickard explored a variety of inititaives to improve reality on a global scale as part of a session at the Brighton Digital Festival last month.

Between the billionaire philanthropist and the subsistence farmer with access to a shared smartphone, who gets to decide what counts as ‘improvement’? Is technology ever the answer? What kind of technology? Whose voices count? And what, if anything, can we usefully say about what happens next? Justin’s talk mulls over these questions with an eye on the sometimes obscured power issues at play.

In his work with the STEPS Centre Justin is researching the relationship between uncertainty, infrastructure and grassroots innovation as part of our Uncertainty From Below and Above project. Last week he blogged for the Guardian on the choices determining our futures.