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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 interrelationship 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 businesses, economics, cultures, politics, labor, and the environment through collaborations with global partners. He explores the future of algorithms, AI, automation, and cryptocurrencies with these themes in mind.

Ramesh is also the author of three books. The first two are: “Whose Global Village? Rethinking How Technology Impacts Our World” with NYU Press, “After the Internet” (with Adam Fish)

In his just-released book, Beyond the Valley, he explains how the future of the internet still hasn’t been written.  Ramesh shows this in ‘BEYOND THE VALLEY: How Innovators around the World are Overcoming Inequality and Creating the Technologies of Tomorrow’ (MIT Press; October 2019).

Tech can be fairer and more democratic, while still serving business interests. If we look beyond the confines of a small slice of Northern California and Seattle, we’ll find people from all over creating a new narrative.     The book paves the way for us all to get to a more democratic Internet, one that supports our political, economic, and globally and culturally diverse lives and interests.

BEYOND THE VALLEY offers a panoramic glimpse of what the next decades in tech might look like, and how innovators outside Silicon Valley are rewriting the script.

Ramesh makes regular appearances on NPR, The Young Turks, MSNBC, and Public Radio International, and his writings have been published in the Washington Post, Quartz, Huffington Post, CNN, and elsewhere. He has forthcoming pieces to be published in the Financial Times, the LA Times, and many other mainstream media venues as well.

Speaking topics include:

The Future of the Internet

—The global expansion of the internet to “the next billion”

  • Internet of Things, 5G, Drones

 

AI and Ethics

—Algorithms, AI and bias: how racial, gender, and age biases get baked into technology, ie. predictive policing, insurance policies

 

Fake news, misinformation and the Internet

—Tech companies’ responsibility to help stem online radicalization

 

Technology and The Developing World

— How digital technologies can make our nation and world more economically equal, rather than the opposite direction we are heading in today

— How community technology networks can help people counter climate change disasters

 

The gig economy and automation

— The gig economy, automation, and the future of the work, workers, and unions

 

Regulation and Technology

— Why regulation/break-up of tech monopolies is needed

— The data bill of rights. People have a right to learn what data is being collected on them, how it is being used, and how data is being computed to influence their political, economic, even personal lives

 

Social Media, Data, Political Campaigns and Elections

— The US election, personal data, and the role of the Internet/social media (analysis of the right and left-wings, the Republican and Democratic strategies alike)

— The impact of the Internet on political candidacies, elections, violence, and movements across the world

 

Blockchain

  • hype versus reality, and how it can help grassroots efforts

 

Net Neutrality

 

Technology in Africa


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.

“Readers of this brilliant book will discover that the sources of digital innovation today can be found across the world, with many technologies of the future coming from rural places. From Mexico to East Africa, people are using technology to solve problems and improve lives—without help from Silicon Valley or China. ‘Beyond the Valley’ offers a vision for a digital world that places diversity front and center.”—Vicente Fox, former President of Mexico; founder of Centro F


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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