Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Book talk at the 10th anniversary of Nantes Institute for Advanced Studies


It was an honor to give my book talk at the special occasion of celebrating the 10th Anniversary of the Nantes Institute for Advanced Studies.  The overriding theme was to "Think the world differently."

It was a large gathering and nice mix of their past and current Fellows spanning 10 years, private sector companies and media persons brought together to discuss investment in the future of this region and its transformation brought by an influx of new technologies and people.

I spoke on my book 'The Next Billion users: Digital life beyond the West' By Harvard University Press as part of the “Digital culture, humanist culture” panel. The theme of this panel was as follows "Digital technology stupefies us with its promises and its threats, particularly for the humanities. Testimonials, demonstrations and viewpoints from the South to help us think differently."

There was a brief introduction by Françoise Rubellin, the director of the Institute and professor at l’Université de Nantes, moderated by Clément Lesort. It was definitely an ecclectic panel which made for an interesting cross disciplinary conversation: Jan Clarke (Fellow of the Institute, Durham University, England), Mylène Pardoen (CNRS, Institut des Sciences de l’Homme in Lyon), Paul François (architect and engineer, Laboratoire des sciences du numérique in Nantes), Jeffrey Leichman (Fellow of the Institute, Louisiana State University, United States), and Catherine Becchetti-Bizot (inspector general, ex-director of Digital Technology for Education).

Overall, great questions and as usual, the French impress me with their high stamina for long intellectual talks that can go on for hours without interruption, four course lunches with wine which made the talk post lunch rather challenging and of course, just pure interest in new ideas.

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