Digital Democracies: Artificial Publics, Just Infrastructures, Ethical Learning

Workshop:
Imre Szeman  – Democracy / Digital / Environment

What role can democracy and the digital (separately or together) play in ameliorating global warming? On the contrary, how does each further contribute to the expansion of practices that generate more (and more) CO2? From the absence of the environment in many elaborations of the common to the greenhouse gases produced by server farms, this workshop will try to provide some answers to the complex equation: digital + democracy + environment.

Panellists: 
Mél Hogan (Communication, Media and Film, U of Calgary)
Eva-Lynn Jagoe (Comparative Literature, U of Toronto)
Geoff Mann (Centre for Global Political Economy and Geography, SFU)
Alicia Massie (Communication Studies, SFU)

Esker Talk: Sweaty Zuckerberg and Cool Computing


Description

In 2010 Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s CEO, was on stage at D8: All things Digital Conference being asked about Facebook’s privacy policies. The topic proved difficult for Zuckerberg, who quickly broke out into a terrible sweat. That image is the focus of this presentation: a drenched Zuckerberg under the media spotlight, espousing the benefits of an open world connected by cool computing. Reception to follow. Presented in collaboration with the Department of Communication, Media and Film at the University of Calgary.

 

Registration recommended, opens 14 January.

https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/sweaty-zuckerberg-and-cool-computing-with-dr-mel-hogan-tickets-53748816156

photo by C. Tepperman

Download (PDF, 1.27MB)

 

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Publication: Big data ecologies

Landscapes of political action

http://ephemerajournal.org/contribution/big-data-ecologies

Big Tech is increasingly ‘partnering with/enslaving’ nature in order to maintain and grow its operations while also demonstrating concern for the environment via large scale sustainable infrastructural developments. However, to green their cycles of production, Big Tech invests in infrastructure that not only sustains but also unwittingly serves to encourage consumption at a time of severe social and political unrest and environmental instability. In these material expansions, there is tremendous infrastructural, financial and political support for ongoing consumption and its embedded values: progress, innovation, and social transformation. In order to analyse this power dynamic, I argue that we must reconsider the scale, scope, and the various meanings and enactments of both indigenous and settler ecological thinking, and mediated ecologies, to better understand Big Tech in a rapidly changing environment. I propose the concept of ‘Big Data Ecologies’ to situate infrastructure at the centre of the discussion of neoliberalism within the rapid and global environmental transformations with which they are intertwined.