Lectures and seminars from the Oxford Internet Institute (OII), University of Oxford. The OII is a leading world centre for multidisciplinary research and teaching on the social factors that are shaping the Internet, and their implications for society. Areas covered by our podcasts include: social networking, Internet regulation, safety and security online, e-government and democracy, civil society, open access, identity, e-learning, citizen journalism and new media, and the future of the Internet itself.
Pressed for Time: The Acceleration of Life in Digital Capitalism
Judy Wajcman explains why we immediately interpret our experiences with digital technology as inexorably accelerating everyday life. The technologically tethered, iPhone-addicted figure is an image we can easily conjure. Most of us complain that there aren't enough hours in the day and there are too many e-mails in our thumb-accessible inboxes. This widespread perception that life is faster than it used to be is now ingrained in our culture, and smartphones and the Internet are continually being blamed. But isn't the sole purpose of the smartphone to give us such quick access to people and information that we'll be free to do other things? Isn't technology supposed to make our lives easier? In Pressed for Time, Judy Wajcman explains why we immediately interpret our experiences with digital technology as inexorably accelerating everyday life. She argues that we are not mere hostages to communication devices, and the sense of always being rushed is the result of the priorities and parameters we ourselves set rather than the machines that help us set them. Indeed, being busy and having action-packed lives has become valorized by our productivity-driven culture. Wajcman offers a bracing historical perspective, exploring the commodification of clock time, and how the speed of the industrial age became identified with progress. She also delves into the ways time use differs for diverse groups in modern societies, showing how changes in work patterns, family arrangements, and parenting all affect time stress. Bringing together empirical research on time use and theoretical debates about dramatic digital developments, this accessible and engaging book will leave readers better versed in how to use technology to navigate life's fast lane.
Combatting Corruption with Mobile Phones
India's right to information movement demonstrated the potential to combat corruption through social audits – an exercise to share and verify public records with people. India's right to information movement demonstrated the potential to combat corruption through social audits – an exercise to share and verify public records with people. But this process requires a lot of time, skill and organizational effort – thanks to which very few audits are organized in India despite its potential. We hope to change this by creating digital tools for activists, which they can use to organize social audits continuously at low cost, and thus challenge corruption in a sustained manner. The technology involves collecting public records online, disseminating it to people via mobile phones and collecting their feedback so that the activists can redress grievances in a timely manner. I will share the progress of the project so far in this talk. Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-Share Alike 2.0 UK: England & Wales; http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/uk/
Africa's Information Revolution: Rhetoric and Reality
Over the past decade there has been a phenomenal growth in mobile phone and internet usage in Africa which has attracted substantial media and academic interest. Over the past decade there has been a phenomenal growth in mobile phone and internet usage in Africa which has attracted substantial media and academic interest. However questions remain about the economically transformative nature and potential of this diffusion of communication infrastructures and artefacts. Based on over two hundred firm level interviews in Tanzania and South Africa this paper explores the impacts of the 'information revolution' on small and medium enterprise development. Contrary to perceptions it finds evidence of thin integration, devaluation and neo, rather than disintermediation. The implications of this for African development are then explored.
Dying for an iPhone: The Hidden Struggle of China's Workers
An in-depth study of the most powerful electronics contractor and the lives of its 1.4 million workers. During 2010, 18 workers attempted suicide at Taiwanese-owned Foxconn Technology Group's Chinese facilities, where Apple and other high profile branded products are produced and assembled. They ranged in age from 17 to 25 - the prime of youth. Fourteen died, while four survived with crippling injuries. What had driven the young Chinese workers to commit the desperate act? What light did they cast on China's much touted economic transformation in the era of export-oriented growth? The mystery that our investigation seeks to explore is not only the "inside story" of Foxconn; it is also the nature of global capitalism embodying with specific relationship between Foxconn and its buyers, the largest and richest being Apple, as well as that between Foxconn and the Chinese state. These are the relationships that shape conditions on the factory floor and ultimately workers' lives. An in-depth study of the most powerful electronics contractor and the lives of its 1.4 million workers enable us to draw out the deep contradictions among labor, capital, and the Chinese state in global IT production. Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-Share Alike 2.0 UK: England & Wales; http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/uk/
Ethical Treatment of Data in New Digital Landscapes - bringing development practitioners and academics together
How can NGOs like Oxfam come together with academics and practitioners alike to tackle emerging privacy and security challenges when it comes to effective management of data? Data has invaluable applications to ensure organisations like Oxfam are needs driven and responsive, meanwhile there are also huge risks to communities if the related processes are not designed and managed in a responsible manner. Adopting meaningful approaches to data security and ethical methodology is not a new effort within Oxfam and the development community nor is it for academics. What is new, however, is the way that the changing digital landscape is presenting new challenges and opportunities which we must react to and ensure staff have resources and knowledge about how to collect, store, manage, use and even dispose of data responsibly. How can NGOs like Oxfam come together with academics and practitioners alike to tackle emerging privacy and security challenges when it comes to effective management of data? As Oxfam are in the process of applying a Responsible Data Policy, how can we learn from and support one another, particularly when it comes to guidance and what policy means in practice? Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-Share Alike 2.0 UK: England & Wales; http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/uk/
The (so far) grassroots success story of Farmerline, a social mobile tech enterprise for African farmers
Alloysius Attah will discuss some of Farmerline's success factors, including its locally adapted technological solutions and strong local outreach. Development organizations, governments, and many others have put high hopes in the potential of mobile technology to improve and upgrade agricultural markets and value chains. However, with a few exceptions, traction and scale of mobile applications targeting African farmers have mostly remained elusive. Farmerline is one such exception. In a short time, with support from development partners, we have been able to provide mobile services that improve the livelihoods of over 5,000 rural farmers through communicating timely and relevant agricultural information (weather alerts, best farming practices, financial tips and market prices) through voice and SMS messages directly to their mobile phones. We also support food companies (Hershey, Ecom Trading and Armajaro), governments, mobile network operators and agricultural businesses with services such as farm management, communication, data collection and traceability tools to better manage their partnerships with small-scale farmers and their entire supply chain. This talk will discuss some of Farmerline's success factors, including its locally adapted technological solutions and strong local outreach. Unlike other mobile solutions for agriculture, Farmerline enables two-way communication in every language and works globally.