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Podium: Efficiency & Madness in the Technosphere

Working towards an informed and constructive civil society critique of technofixes

In our podium, we want to explore how we can develop a constructive civil society critique of data-driven / data-enhanced technologies that allows us to embrace their positive offerings to solve environmental and socio-ecological problems while ensuring that these technologies are properly understood, assessed, regulated and controlled by society and will only be deployed / used if they contribute to the wellbeing of people, equity/justice and a healthy planet.

Technologies help us do more with less, they defy boundaries of space, time and self. They are an essential part of our daily lives, and they can be crucial in finding solutions to seemingly intractable problems. We experience them as both magic and loss. That is, they are simultaneously incredible and devastating in the ways they change our lives. The truth is, in most cases, we both want them and don’t want them.
But some technologies we might not want or need at all: technologies that are potentially so powerful they could create irreversible changes to our entire global ecosystems and allow some people to take control of the basis of life itself (such as geoengineering and synthetic biology) are currently researched and developed without a broad societal debate.
But because ‘technofixes’ seem to have magical advantages in terms of affordability, efficiency and scalability, they are often easily and broadly adopted. This has precipitated a fundamental shift in how governments, corporations, communities and individuals worldwide undertake the ‘business’ of problem-solving – or rather solution-finding, which relies heavily on data-driven / enhanced technologies.

The shifts society is witnessing through these technologies and the mindsets that shape them are so vast that they challenge it at a structural level – laws and regulations, accountability and justice, rights and sovereignty around the world are all thrown into question.

In our podium, we want to explore how we can develop a constructive critique of data-driven / data-enhanced technologies that allows us to embrace their positive offerings to solve environmental and socio-ecological problems while ensuring that these technologies are properly understood, assessed, regulated and controlled by society and will only be deployed / used if they contribute to the wellbeing of people, equity/justice and a healthy planet.

A starting point for this debate will be the acknowledgement that the questions we currently face are not new...

We will build on the Essay "Efficiency and Madness - Using Data and Technology to Solve Social, Environmental and Political Problems" that was jointly published by the Tactical Technology Collective and the Heinrich Böll Foundation and explore some of the underlying themes, open questions and propositions.

Speakers:
Marek Tuszynski, Creative Director and co-founder of Tactical Tech
Lili Fuhr, Head of Environmental Policy Division at Heinrich Böll Foundation and Board Member of ETC Group
Pat Mooney, Founder of ETC Group

Info

Day: 2018-11-18
Start time: 10:00
Duration: 01:00
Room: DELPHI
Track: Die ganz großen Fragen
Language: en

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