With Anja Kovacs, Felix Stalder
Urvashi Aneja unfortunately cannot attend.
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India is one of the largest “digital economies”. Confronted with state and corporate control of digital infrastructures, it is seeing an abundance of “gig work” (temporary employment) and platform-based economies that promise new opportunities for entrepreneurship and labor. Meanwhile, AI based solutions are already being tested to replace human interaction and labor for repetitive and predictable work across industries. Over a billion identities in India are digitized today and over a 100 million amongst these participate in digital economies as consumers every day, with the government's vocal intentions to bridge this disparity with socio-technical imaginaries of urgent last mile connectivity. However, technology based solutions still have mostly reestablished and expanded existing inequities and power relations of capital, gender and human exceptionalism. Instead of offering accountability, accessibility and opportunity, these socio-technical imaginaries act as tools for resource and customer acquisition for power and capital. As countries and economies accelerate further and compete to become attractive global marketplaces, they leave key ethical, social and ecological concerns behind. How do we encode and inscribe sustainability, ethics and care within our techno-social relations and digitopian imaginaries of the future? What role can governance and citizens play in enabling these imaginaries?
Felix Stalder: De-Coding Opacity
Throughout the 20th century technology stood for modernization and progress: self-determination, material improvement and government “for the people”. In the early phase of neo-liberal globalization, an assumed connection between technological innovation, market freedoms and democracy was part of its appeal to global middle classes. Technology was to provide the means to make the world more readable and thus more controllable.
Today, while rapid technological innovation continues, this powerful fiction has been replaced by the fear of "loss of control"; declining working conditions, rising inequality, ecological limits and authoritarian governments are real. In this talk, Felix Stalder will look at the role of technology in this process, how it contributes to making the world more opaque, enabling predatory practices in its shadows, but also how it remains a crucial terrain to fight back.
Anja Kovacs: The Fact or the Matter? On Returning Bodies to Data Governance
Dominant discourses tend to construct data as a resource of some sort, as a thing that is somehow out there and therefore up for grabs. However, in this presentation the director of the Internet Democracy Project Delhi Anja Kovacs will show that in practice the line between physical bodies and virtual bodies is increasingly becoming irrelevant. Data, then, is not so much a resource that is simply out there, but an extension of our bodies, even a part of it. And so the question arises: from data colonialism to data processing, how does bringing bodies back into the picture reframe our approach to data governance?
Day 1 | Day 2