Showing posts with label next billion users. Show all posts
Showing posts with label next billion users. Show all posts

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Talk at the iconic Volksbühne theatre on AI for the common good

On May 6th, I will be heading to Berlin to help launch the School of Disobedience initiative and fittingly it will be at Berlin's most iconic theatre - Volksbühne, home to art and activism in Germany for over a century. The event will feature a conversation with Lorena Jaume-Palasí , the founder of The Ethical Tech Society, a non-profit focused on the social impact of technology and Advisory Council member of AI for the Spanish government. 

We will be speaking about AI for the common good. I will be giving a talk before hand on the Next Billion Users, drawing from my new book on how this population will push us to rethink what constitutes as "good" practice in AI futures. Currently, artificial intelligence delivers lots of material for projections about the future of societies. It seems to disrupt our concept of space, time and borders. Predominant is the view that AI will become or even is already a tool to create dystopias of oppression. However, this is only the view of a few, albeit famous, scholars and intellectuals. But what about those who are supposed to be oppressed? Do they play an active role in the conversation? How is their perception of artificial intelligence and datafication? And what are their visions? 

I will be debunking many of these dominant discourses of pessimism and determinism of AI futures by taking on a more bottom up and cultural approach to this topic.

The School of Disobedience is an experimental format to test new ways of independent knowledge production in the 21st century. The inspiration is the spirit of Berlin, the city as an image for this time and this world, heterogeneous, international and politicized. The goal of the School of Disobedience is to concentrate this potential of the city and put it to use for working on a common future. The combination of humanistic and technological perspectives should help to support specific projects which are based on a progressive view of society and will further our sense of justice. This was launched in fall 2018 and continuing into 2019, the School of Disobedience will work in the Grünen Salon with a set of events to test formats and content of the para-academic practice. There will be seminars open for anybody interested in the connection of academic and activist thinking and working, a lab for technologists and theoreticians, a makerspace for people with experiences in different areas, from law to coding, from NGO to academia. Each month, a different academic expert leads a seminar on his or her research and invites people of all ages, professions and experience to join as its students. There will also be monthly public evening events in the evenings, which will allow the general audience an insight into that month’s 

Monday, March 25, 2019

First Book Reviews out with Times Higher Ed & E&T magazine


Am thrilled to read these positive reviews of my new book "The Next Billion Users: Digital Life beyond the West" with Harvard University Press.  It is particularly wonderful to see one of the reviews emanate from the well read Times Higher Ed. 

I am also glad to see the Engineering and Tech magazine take this book up (as well as Tech Crunch a few weeks ago), which signals to me that the tech industry has a growing interest in broadening their worldviews beyond the technical aspects to that which is ethical, cultural and may I even dare to say, philosophical. I really am looking forward to future engagements with engineers, programmers and other stakeholders at the forefront of shaping our digital platforms.

Times Higher Education
“This powerful book explores actual online lives in China, India and Brazil and asks why many of us in the West are surprised and sometimes offended by the fact that the impoverished are just as committed as we are to the search for “moments of pleasure and joy." Click here to view this mention.

Engineering and Technology magazine

"Make no mistake. While we wring our hands in anguish over how we are somehow being let down by the fact that Dryden’s ‘noble savage’ is neither of those things, developers of social media platforms will be working out how to monetise the pleasure of the poor. Uncomfortable, myth-busting and compelling, ‘The Next Billion Users’ challenges our collective superiority complexes and questions the way we see technology in the connected world." Click here for the full review.

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Podcast with Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC)

The podcast interview with Nora Young from Spark Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) is now out. You can listen to it by clicking here.
Porn and Cat Videos are Universal March 7: 2019 Podcast with CBC
As the number of people who are connected to the internet around the world grows, the 'next billion' users are likely to be in the developing world, young, with low incomes, and accessing the internet on mobile devices.
Payal Arora (Damjan Svarc)
In her new book, The Next Billion Users: Digital Life Beyond the West, digital anthropologist Payal Aroralooked at the way young users actually use the internet in a number of developing-world countries, from Brazil to Saudi Arabia. She argues that we in the West have a lot of preconceptions about how those users do — or 'ought to' — behave online.
Arora spoke with Spark host Nora Young.
The core of your book is that there's a belief in the west that people in the developing world are using the internet for research, education, to find work, practical things. Overall, what did you find when you looked into actual online practices?
The rest of the article can be found here. 

Sunday, February 24, 2019

New Book with Harvard Press out

My US publicist clicked this photo at Barnes & Noble in
New York, Union Square
These months have been absolutely exciting as my new book 'The Next Billion Users: Digital Life beyond the West' with Harvard University Press has come out!

This is my first non-academic book, written for a wider audience interested in technology, society and globalization. After two years and multiple revisions later, guided by the brilliant ruthlessness of my editor, I have emerged with my sanity restored again. Now its time to reap the benefits and sit back and relax a bit. I had to really rethink what good writing is and to be honest, unlearn some seriously bad writing habits I picked up with my time in academia.

What is my book about? Check out the book cover which states...

A digital anthropologist examines the online lives of millions of people in China, India, Brazil, and across the Middle East—home to most of the world’s internet users—and discovers that what they are doing is not what we imagine. New-media pundits obsess over online privacy and security, cyberbullying, and revenge porn, but do these things really matter in most of the world? The Next Billion Users reveals that many assumptions about internet use in developing countries are wrong. After immersing herself in factory towns, slums, townships, and favelas, Payal Arora assesses real patterns of internet usage in India, China, South Africa, Brazil, and the Middle East. She finds Himalayan teens growing closer by sharing a single computer with common passwords and profiles. In China’s gaming factories, the line between work and leisure disappears. In Riyadh, a group of young women organizes a YouTube fashion show. Why do citizens of states with strict surveillance policies appear to care so little about their digital privacy? Why do Brazilians eschew geo-tagging on social media? What drives young Indians to friend “foreign” strangers on Facebook and give “missed calls” to people? The Next Billion Users answers these questions and many more. Through extensive fieldwork, Arora demonstrates that the global poor are far from virtuous utilitarians who mainly go online to study, find jobs, and obtain health information. She reveals habits of use bound to intrigue everyone from casual internet users to developers of global digital platforms to organizations seeking to reach the next billion internet users.

or, better yet, check out my TEDx talk on this book

Publicity of the book

Never thought I would be talking about my "multiple publicists" in the United States and the UK who are handling Asia, Europe, Latin America, US etc. What a team of fantastic hard working people at Harvard who are really dedicated to getting this work out. So far, some pretty cool interviews with (check out the hyperlinks for the full articles) BREAKER magazine The Boston Globe , Tech Crunch. and TechCabal. What is particularly cool is that I lived in both New York and Boston, the places where these media outlets are based.

What is particularly touching for me is the full length thought piece on my book in Vrij Nederland which is a reputable and major Dutch newspaper. It has been almost a decade since I moved from New York to the Netherlands, and now call Amsterdam my home. So this dutch endorsement means a lot from my adopted homeland. Another article which came out recently is in the NRC which is an amazing paper with an impressive liberal legacy in the Netherlands.

My first podcasts came out with Monocle24 and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Also, thrilled to reach out to German readers via F.A.Z and Belgians via De Standaard among other outlets. Have got an east Asian book tour coming up in August, with my book getting translated into Chinese in 2021 by China University of Political Science and Law Press. Then early next year, will be in India. Can't wait to see how this year will play out.


Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Boston Globe article on my upcoming book release

I have always been a fan of Boston Globe and the Spotlight movie reaffirmed my enthusiasm for their committed coverage for quality and courageous journalism. So was thrilled to have them be the first media outlet to cover my upcoming book with Harvard University Press titled 'The Next Billion Users: Digital Life beyond the West'. 

It's getting real now! Good to have the word out there about something I care so much about.

Check out the article on my book via this link

Aimee Ortiz from Boston Globe: January 10, 2019

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

First pre-launch book talk in Finland

I delivered my first pre-launch book talk on 'The global poor need less innovation: A critique of Silicon Valley’s human laboratories.' This is drawn from one of my chapters on innovation from below from the upcoming book with Harvard University Press 'The Next Billion Users: Digital Life beyond the West.' This was at the Faculty of Communication Sciences at the University of Tampere.

Here is the gist of the talk
The twenty-first century is the age of innovation. Technology pundits are working hard to make innovation serve the common good. Ryan Allis—the current chairperson of Connect and Hive in San Francisco and an angel investor in twenty-five companies, provides a startup guide to ease us into this new era. All we need to do is reimagine “everything,” says Allis. With just “a laptop, a smartphone, and the cloud,” we can access any service anytime—including, of course, education. In the last decade, much has been written on the long-awaited disruption of that archaic institution—the school. The educational system in low-income communities in developing countries is regarded as a market “failure.” Fortunately, the market “success” of new technology will step in and take its place. Smart technology will replace not-so-smart teachers. Educational technology entrepreneurs are busy making all-inclusive, self-contained schooling apps for the global poor. Self-help is the foundation of the innovation age. Centralized schooling should be discarded for personalized play-driven learning. Playlists take precedence over playgrounds. This gospel seeks to do away with the school, the teacher, the community. This talk will delve deeper into the contemporary ideologies and initiatives that drive technology innovation for the social good and brings to question whether what constitutes as innovation today serves the global poor.

The next day, I got to serve as an Opponent for a Phd Defense where an external scholar interrogates a Phd student in public for hours before nominating the dissertation for approval. Landed up being a fascinating process and dialogue between the candidate and myself. It is interesting how different these rituals are across contexts - I have so far participated in the Dutch, American, and Belgian context so this made for a whole new level of experience of Finnish defenses.

Overall great experience as usual in Finland. Always nice to go back there!