Technology and Social Change: Re-Examining Key Assumptions
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Technology and Social Change: Re-Examining Key Assumptions

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Presentation on technology and social change by Evgeny Morozov at one of the thematic sessions at the Skoll World Forum 2009 in Oxford

Presentation on technology and social change by Evgeny Morozov at one of the thematic sessions at the Skoll World Forum 2009 in Oxford

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Technology and Social Change: Re-Examining Key Assumptions Technology and Social Change: Re-Examining Key Assumptions Presentation Transcript

  • Technology and Social Change Re-examining 3 Key Assumptions By Evgeny Morozov @ World Skoll Forum 2009
  • Assumptions Assumptions 1. Data Will Organize Itself 2. Technology Will Democratize Our Public Sphere 3. Civil Society Will Flourish on the Web
  • Assumption #1: Data Will Organize Itself
  • Semantic Health Search: CureHunter
  • CureHunter.com - II
  • Hakia: Curated/Verified Health Search
  • Aggregation is cheap; curation isn't
  • Growing availability of user-contributed data
  • Predicting Epidemics with Flu Trends
  • Tracking Crime with WikiCrimes
  • Tracking Crises with WikiMapAid
  • Tracking Conflict with Ushahidi
  • Can We Trust User-Submitted Data?
  • Determining “trusted” content
  • Assumption # 2 Technology will democratize our public sphere
  • I. Does Internet Breed Polarization?
  • Shared National Experiences
  • “Shared National Experience”? No, thanks
  • Blogs add more value Ashley Esarey, based on 2006 data/500 blogs
  • II. Does Deliberation Come at the Cost of Participation?
  • Pajamahadeen vs Movement Builders
  • There's less politics online than we think
  • Deliberation vs Participation in the US Blog-readers: as polarized as US senators  (more polarized than TV news audiences/non- blog readers) Cross-cutting exposure to blogs with  different ideological positions doesn't lower participation (especially on the left) Farrell et al. (2008)
  • III. Is New Media More Participatory and Democratic?
  • Anyone can contribute but not everyone does... Wikipedia: 1% of users responsible for half of the  site's edits Digg: top 100 users responsible for half of the  site's top stories 98% chance your submission won't make the  Digg frontpage today
  • Gameabiliy and astroturfing; notable clients
  • Masses vs Elites
  • Top political bloggers vs top columnists elite education: 66% of columnists vs 73 % of  bloggers doctoral degrees: 20% of columnists vs more  than 50% of bloggers columnists score better on gender/ethnic balance  Top bloggers far better educated than CEOs of  American companies Matthew Hindman, Myth of Digital Democracy (2009)
  • Assumption # 3 Civil Society Will Flourish on the Web
  • Does technology erode state power? “The role of the nation state will change dramatically and there will be no more room for nationalism than there is for smallpox...many of the values of a nation-state will give way to those of both larger and smaller electronic communities...” Being Digital (1996), Nicolas Negroponte
  • 1. Nationalists
  • 2. Anti-vaccination 2007 study by U of Toronto: 153 YouTube videos about vaccination and immunization. More than half of the videos portrayed vaccinations negatively or ambiguously. Of those videos, almost half contained messages that contradict the 2006 Canadian Immunization Guide
  • 3. Corporations Aggressive SEO/Removing Complaints
  • Online Doesn't Always Mean Louder
  • Politics of Censorship are Global Censorship campaigns in UK, Australia, Canada give extra legitimacy to campaigns in China, Thailand, Vietnam...
  • Thailand: Crowdsourcing Censorship
  • Democratization of “cyber-attacks” 
  • “Digital Refugees”
  • Exiled media from Burma
  • Russian LGBT online community+US
  • Dictators Don't Necessarily Hate the Web
  • “Spinternet” of China, Russia, Iran
  • China's 50 Cent Party (wumaodang) ~280,000 members Regular National/Local Trainings “Priority” Sites Required to Cooperate
  • Russia: “New Media Stars” start-up
  • Iran: Spinning Religious Discourse “Bureau for the Development of Religious Web Logs” established at the Religious School of Qom in 2006 350 teachers and clergy in Qom were trained, with at least 800 students Particular concern: blogging women
  • Thank you! Email: evgeny.morozov@gmail.com