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Showing posts with the label democracy

Brainstorming at the AI & Democracy CIFAR Workshop at Microsoft Research Montreal

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I was invited to participate in the 'AI Powered Information Ecosystems & Democracy' workshop held at the Microsoft Research Lab in Montreal and sponsored by CIFAR

The premise of this workshop was to engage a "diverse groups of researchers from academia and industry with practitioners and civil society representatives, to encourage collaborations between those involved in the research and development of computations tools with those with focused expertise in policy, journalism, civil rights, and democratic values."

The basis of this workshop was to outline all the opportunities and challenges that AI-powered information ecosystems (like social media, search engines, or content-sharing platforms) have brought upon in recent years and in particular to the strengthening of our democratic institutions around the world.

It was an intense workshop where we worked in core groups on topics such as communities, elections, misinformation, and regulation and when in there,…

New paper on Data-Based Governance out in First Monday

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Hallam Stevens from Nanjang Technological University and I co-edited a Special Issue in First Monday, one of the first Open Access journals on the internet. The theme of this issue is "Data-driven models of governance across borders: Datafication from the local to the global."

In essence, this special issue looks closely at contemporary data systems in diverse global contexts and through this set of papers, highlights the struggles we face as we negotiate efficiency and innovation with universal human rights and social inclusion. The studies presented in these essays are situated in diverse models of policy-making, governance, and/or activism across borders. Attention to big data governance in western contexts has tended to highlight how data increases state and corporate surveillance of citizens, affecting rights to privacy. By moving beyond Euro-American borders — to places such as Africa, India, China, and Singapore — we show here how data regimes are motivated and unders…

Interview with BREAKER magazine on blockchain and equality

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Did another interview today for the upcoming book 'The Next Billion Users: Digital life beyond the West' with Harvard University Press. It was with BREAKER, a New York based magazine with a cool mission...

"Why BREAKERMAG? Because the world is already in tumult—and along comes a new wave of technology promising yet more change. Blockchain—which includes crypto-assets, ledgers that track those assets, and many applications—is upending whole industries, sparking radically democratic ideas, and creating a new elite. As this uprising gathers momentum, BREAKER Magazine is here to tell the stories of this space and to argue about where the world is going."

My interview was part of BREAKER’s Social Good Week, a series looking at ways blockchain technology can engineer progress and help humanity. This was a good exercise to sharpen my argument and apply it to blockchain and other so called technological novelties that are marketed as being game changers and major disruptors …

Invited to the Advisory Commission initiative by Facebook

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I have been invited to be on the new advisory committee by Facebook to help scholars independently assess Facebook’s impact on elections, misinformation, privacy and other contemporary and critical issues regarding its usage.
In April, Facebook announced it would be working with a group of academics to establish an independent research commission to look into issues of social and political significance using the company’s own extensive data collection. That commission, called Social Science One has just launched in early July. I will be on the Asian regional committee and partake in collaborations to assess the impact of Facebook in this region.
In the last two years, Facebook tools have not just helped politicians connect with their constituents — and different communities to debate the issues but as we have witnessed, it can be misused to manipulate and deceive. 
To keep this independent, it will be funded by the Laura and John Arnold Foundation, Democracy Fund, the William and Flora H…

Keynote talk at the University of Saltzburg

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I have been invited to deliver a keynote address for the Democracy and (Des-) Information Society: On the Function and Dissemination of Big Data, Fake News and Conspiracy Theories”Conference to be held at the University of Salzburg on April 26th, 2018. This conference investigates "fake news" and the growing influence of social media and search engine technologies on political life. Among other things, the conference will focus on the following questions: Which forms of disinformation exist and how do they differ? Is there actually a new quality of manipulation? What opportunities, challenges and limitations are associated with big data analysis? How do digital technologies and the practices they facilitate change the culture of communication and knowledge production in democratic societies? Which forms of foreign and self-regulation are meaningful and desirable in order to put a stop to disinformational tendencies but at the same time make use of progressive potentials of …

New Book out! The Leisure Commons: A Spatial History of Web 2.0 (Routledge)

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My book, 'The Leisure Commons: A Spatial History of Web 2.0' has just been published by the Routledge Science, Technology & Society Series. 
About the book: There is much excitement about Web 2.0 as an unprecedented, novel, community-building space for experiencing, producing, and consuming leisure, particularly through social network sites. What is needed is a perspective that is invested in neither a utopian or dystopian posture but sees historical continuity to this cyberleisure geography. This book investigates the digital public sphere by drawing parallels to another leisure space that shares its rhetoric of being open, democratic, and free for all: the urban park. It makes the case that the history and politics of public parks as an urban commons provides fresh insight into contemporary debates on corporatization, democratization and privatization of the digital commons. This book takes the reader on a metaphorical journey through multiple forms of public parks such …

In-built democracy in the Middle East

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Writing about the Middle East uprisings is intimidating as words barely do justice to the phenomenal spirit that has captured people in this region and beyond. How can one not be awestruck and humbled by these moments in time? If it were a movie, it would win the Oscars undoubtedly. It guarantees a lump in your throat each time it gains media limelight. We live vicariously through these times, getting a taste of what it’s like to be passionate for an ideal. Our palette is being honed for more exotic flavors of democracy. This media coverage has become our new high.

Frontpage coverage gives frontline feelings; it’s a battle and we, the reader, march along. To sustain this momentum, questions surface: are the people in the Middle East fighting for democracy or are they fighting against authoritarianism? Will this region create their own style of democracy, much like the Chinese, who have managed to defy the conventional coupling of capitalism and Western style democracy? And besides, a…