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Ramesh Srinivasan speaker

Ramesh Srinivasan

speaker location icon Los Angeles, California

Professor and Director, UC Digital Cultures Lab, UCLA

Expert in social media technologies around democratic communication

Regularly featured in Washington Post, CNN, Forbes, Huffington Post

Ramesh Srinivasan studies the relationship between technology, politics and societies across the world. He has been a faculty member at UCLA since 2005 in the Information Studies and Design|Media Arts departments. He is the founder of the UC-wide Digital Cultures Lab, exploring the meaning of technology worldwide as it spreads to the far reaches of our world.

The Digital Cultures Lab (DCL) offers a unique, people-focused analysis of new technologies. They examine and discuss the means by which new media technologies impact economics, cultures, politics, labor, and the environment through collaborations with global partners.

Ramesh is the author of: “Whose Global Village? Rethinking How Technology Impacts Our World” with NYU Press, and “After the Internet” (with Adam Fish). He has completed a major public book, ‘Beyond the Valley’ (Oct’19) which explores the relationships between data, and the Internet with political life, automation and the future of labor, and questions of cultural and global sovereignty.

He also writes extensively about issues associated with AI and ethics. Ramesh earned his doctorate in design studies at Harvard; his master’s degree at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; and his bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering at Stanford.

Speaking topics include:

  • AI and Ethics
  • Internet of Things, 5G, Drones
  • Fake news, misinformation and the Internet
  • Technology and The Developing World
  • The gig economy and automation
  • Regulation and Technology
  • Social Media, Data, Political Campaigns and Elections
  • Technology in Africa
  • Net Neutrality

Beyond the Valley: How Innovators around the World are Overcoming Inequality and Creating the Technologies of Tomorrow

How to repair the disconnect between designers and users, producers and consumers, and tech elites and the rest of us: toward a more democratic internet.

 

In this provocative book, Ramesh Srinivasan describes the internet as both an enabler of frictionless efficiency and a dirty tangle of politics, economics, and other inefficient, inharmonious human activities. We may love the immediacy of Google search results, the convenience of buying from Amazon, and the elegance and power of our Apple devices, but it’s a one-way, top-down process. We’re not asked for our input, or our opinions―only for our data. The internet is brought to us by wealthy technologists in Silicon Valley and China. It’s time, Srinivasan argues, that we think in terms beyond the Valley.

Srinivasan focuses on the disconnection he sees between designers and users, producers and consumers, and tech elites and the rest of us. The recent Cambridge Analytica and Russian misinformation scandals exemplify the imbalance of a digital world that puts profits before inclusivity and democracy. In search of a more democratic internet, Srinivasan takes us to the mountains of Oaxaca, East and West Africa, China, Scandinavia, North America, and elsewhere, visiting the “design labs” of rural, low-income, and indigenous people around the world. He talks to a range of high-profile public figures―including Elizabeth Warren, David Axelrod, Eric Holder, Noam Chomsky, Lawrence Lessig, and the founders of Reddit, as well as community organizers, labor leaders, and human rights activists.. To make a better internet, Srinivasan says, we need a new ethic of diversity, openness, and inclusivity, empowering those now excluded from decisions about how technologies are designed, who profits from them, and who are surveilled and exploited by them.


Whose Global Village?: Rethinking How Technology Shapes Our World

A call to action to include marginalized, non-western communities in the continuously expanding digital revolution
In the digital age, technology has shrunk the physical world into a “global village,” where we all seem to be connected as an online community as information travels to the farthest reaches of the planet with the click of a mouse. Yet while we think of platforms such as Twitter and Facebook as open and accessible to all, in reality, these are commercial entities developed primarily by and for the Western world. Considering how new technologies increasingly shape labor, economics, and politics, these tools often reinforce the inequalities of globalization, rarely reflecting the perspectives of those at the bottom of the digital divide.

This book asks us to re-consider ‘whose global village’ we are shaping with the digital technology revolution today. Sharing stories of collaboration with Native Americans in California and New Mexico, revolutionaries in Egypt, communities in rural India, and others across the world, Ramesh Srinivasan urges us to re-imagine what the Internet, mobile phones, or social media platforms may look like when considered from the perspective of diverse cultures. Such collaborations can pave the way for a people-first approach toward designing and working with new technology worldwide. Whose Global Villageseeks to inspire professionals, activists, and scholars alike to think about technology in a way that embraces the realities of communities too often relegated to the margins. We can then start to visualize a world where technologies serve diverse communities rather than just the Western consumer.

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