Latest Blog Post

Tuesday, 25 June, 2019 - 12:32

Nothing is more practical than rules to guide thinking. In this post I share the ten rules I use to think about technology and society. Personally I use them as tools to filter the hype that surrounds technology and to get to the critical questions of who benefits and loses, as well as what needs to be done to secure a more equitable society. I previously tweeted a version of these rules, and this posting responds to requests to expand them and to provide some useful links.
 

 

These rules of technology remain under constant revision because technology and society are in contant flux and what I have learnt is inevitably partial and provisional. Nevertheless, some rules have been serving me well since studying, and teaching, Innovation Studies way back in the late twentieth century(!). Other rules I've picked up more recently: as a doctoral researcher at Royal Holloway, as a Gender Tech Fellow at the United Nations University in Macao, and since 2016 co-leading the Digital & Technology research team here at the Institute for Development Studies in the UK.

 

Rule 1. Technology is a...

All Blog Posts

A Buddhist Philosophy of ICT4D?

Given his philosophy of interconnectedness, the Buddha might be reduced to smiling compassionately at the technologically deterministic claims of some ICT4D folk that their ICT is the sole cause of a particular development outcome.

The Invisible Hand(set) & Mackerel Economics

“Mobile Phones Promote Economic Growth” was the simple, technologically deterministic claim made by The Economist in 2007, citing as evidence Robert Jensen's now famous study of mobile phone adoption in India. In the single most cited piece of research in

Open Source ICT4D can be Sustainable and Free

Wayan Vota wrote a great blogpost this week on whether the goals of sustainability and using open source ICT4D are compatible within the context of international development. It is a stimulating and thoughtful piece.

25 ICT4D Conferences in 2016

This is my latest attempt at sketching out a calendar of ICT4D conferences scheduled for 2016. Thanks especially to Laurent Straskraba, Edgar Nsheega and to Richard Heeks and Larry Stillman for suggesting additions.

Should all ICT4D be Commodified?

Alex Deng from Huawei's Corporate Sustainable Development Committee has posted a stimulating article on the Harvard Business Review site. In it he argues that to really help the global poor we must create technology that they’ll pay for.

Join the Founding Team at UNU-CS

If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook you will know that as soon as I finish the final (?) revisions on my PhD this September I am moving to Macau.

UN University Computing and Society (UNU-CS) Research Fellowships

The United Nations University is recruiting Research Fellows for its new Institute on Computing and Society - UNU-CS - in Macau.

It's Not About the Technology Stupid!

I'm busy reading Kentaro Toyama's new book Geek Heresy.

Another Technology is Always Possible

Rui Roberto Ramos provided a fascinating case study at IFIP9.4 of ICT use by Recife City Council to impose control over informal street traders.

Is a Transformist ICT4D Possible?

Comment about ICT4D tends to be either celebratory hype or entirely negative criticism. Both extremes tend to be based on assumptions that are uncritical about exactly what we mean by development, as well as about the relationship between ICTs on the one hand and development on the other.

A Critical Look at Participatory Video

As you know participatory video (also known as PV) is the process of enabling non-experts to make films about (development) issues that they prioritise. Participatory video can be a way for disadvantaged communities to appropriate technology in order to take control of the way in which they are represented and to amplify local voices on key issues of concern to them.

Top ICT4D Conferences of 2015

As usual I have had a go at putting together a calendar of ICT4D conferences scheduled for the year ahead.

With many conferences still to announce details it already looks like a bumper harvest with May, as ever, looking to be the busiest month.

Pages