100 episodes

Technically Human is a podcast about ethics and technology where I ask what it means to be human in the age of tech. Each week, I interview industry leaders, thinkers, writers, and technologists and I ask them about how they understand the relationship between humans and the technologies we create. We discuss how we can build a better vision for technology, one that represents the best of our human values.

The Technically Human Podcast Deb Donig

    • Technology
    • 4.8 • 21 Ratings

Technically Human is a podcast about ethics and technology where I ask what it means to be human in the age of tech. Each week, I interview industry leaders, thinkers, writers, and technologists and I ask them about how they understand the relationship between humans and the technologies we create. We discuss how we can build a better vision for technology, one that represents the best of our human values.

    *From the Archives*: Tech, democracy, human rights, and the urgent crisis in Sudan

    *From the Archives*: Tech, democracy, human rights, and the urgent crisis in Sudan

    These past few weeks, as violence and instability have escalated in Sudan, I’ve had one particular conversation on my mind, an episode of the show that I recorded a few years back with Mohamed Abubakr.
    In April of this year, clashes broke out in cities, with the fighting concentrated around the capital city of Khartoum and the Darfur region. As of 27 May, at least 1,800 people had been killed and more than 5,100 others had been injured.
    The conflict began with attacks by the paramilitary group Rapid Support Forces (RSF) on government sites across Sudan. At present the conflict has killed hundreds, injured thousands, and triggered a humanitarian catastrophe with international sanctions and a global response emerging from governments, including the United States, and international groups.
    In light of the conflict, I wanted to revisit the conversation I had with Mohamed, where we talked about the role that tech plays in democracy and revolution in the middle east to call attention to Sudan and those who are working passionately to help protect and restore democracy there, to recall the possibilities and optimism for a better Sudanese future, and to help remind us of our interconnectedness to others around the world.
    Mohamed Abubakr is a Sudanese human rights activist and peacemaker with a decade and a half of civil society experience. Since high school, he has founded and led organizations and initiatives focused on humanitarian, human rights, youth empowerment and peace programs across the Middle East and Africa (MEA) including in Darfur, South Sudan, Sudan, Egypt, Israel, the Palestinian Territories and beyond. Mohamed has also documented, reported and mobilized against human rights abuses across MEA, and since arriving in the United States has become a sought after voice at the State Department and in Congress concerning policy and human rights issues in the region.
    Mohamed Abubar is the president of the African and Middle Eastern Leadership Project (AMEL). AMEL empowers young activists from the Middle Eastern and African region, and connects them with one another and with peers, leaders and audiences in the global north, in order to advance human rights for all human beings. Using online platforms, social media networks, and technological innovation, AMEL provides training, mentoring, and advocacy to African and Middle Eastern activists, empowering them to step up their civil society activism, while at the same time building their skills and experience to ascend to top leadership positions.

    • 59 min
    Compliance and Governance in the Age of Tech

    Compliance and Governance in the Age of Tech

    In the episode, I speak with Ofir Shabtai, the Co-Founder & CTO at Shield, a company building compliance systems that can serve as internal watchdogs to monitor and ensure compliance. We talk about the emerging models of governance and the compliance movements mobilizing around the world, what compliance work looks like, and how technological systems intersect with compliance and governance.

    • 49 min
    Returning the Power of AI to the People

    Returning the Power of AI to the People

    Any long-time listeners of the show know that I’m passionate about accessibility and disability technology. Technologies that support the idea that we can have an equitable world, and that creating a more accessible world makes things better not just for the group specifically considered in that technology, but for all of us, is a key idea to me. That’s why I wanted to sit down with Suman Kanuganti,  the former Co-founder and CEO of Aira Tech, a high-tech startup whose work helped pioneer a way to bridge the information gap for those who are blind or low-vision. At Aira, Kanuganti transformed cities, airports, and universities across the country by helping to make those spaces accessible for people who are blind or low-vision.

    • 53 min
    Indigeneity in the Digital Age

    Indigeneity in the Digital Age

    In this episode, I sit down with Jason Edward Lewis to talk about how Indigenous peoples are imagining the futures while drawing upon their heritage. How can we broaden the discussions regarding technology and society to include Indigenous perspectives? How can we design and create AI that centers Indigenous concerns and accommodates a multiplicity of thought? And how can art-led technology research and the use of computational art in imagining the future?

    • 1 hr 21 min
    Technology and Genocide: What the Holocaust can tell us about perils of technological utopianism

    Technology and Genocide: What the Holocaust can tell us about perils of technological utopianism

    Welcome back for another episode in the ”22 Lessons on Ethics and Technology Series! In this episode of the series, I speak to Dr. Eric Katz, and we take on the common utopian mythology of technology as inherently progressive, focusing specifically on the frequent slide from utopianism into terror. We talk about the uses of technology during the Holocaust and the specific ways in which scientists, architects, medical professionals, businessmen, and engineers participated in the planning and operation of the concentration and extermination camps that were the foundation of the ’final solution’. How can we think about the claims of technological progress in light of the Nazi’s use of science and technology in their killing operations? And what can we learn from the Nazi past about how our commitment to a vision of technological progress can go horrifically wrong?

    • 1 hr 4 min
    Instituting Integrity: The rise of the integrity worker collective

    Instituting Integrity: The rise of the integrity worker collective

    Today I’m sitting down with Talha Baig to talk about a new to me organization, the Integrity Institute. On the show, I’ve spent a lot of time talking about what I see as a new workforce emerging in the tech sector, of people working in jobs in the tech sector to try and understand, assess, and mitigate some of the harms caused by technologies. That’s why I was excited to learn about the Integrity Institute, a cohort of engineers, product managers, researchers, analysts, data scientists, operations specialists, policy experts and more, who are coming together to leverage their combined experience and their understanding of the systemic causes of problems on the social internet to help mitigate these problems. They want to bring this experience and expertise directly to the people theorizing, building, and governing the social internet. So I wanted to talk to Talha, who hosts the Trust in Tech podcast out of the institute, about the concept, the function, and the future of integrity work.

    • 1 hr 6 min

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
21 Ratings

21 Ratings

oliviabaker13 ,

A new favorite!

This podcast is a new favorite in my feed! I'm consistently inspired by the engaging conversations, insightful content, and actionable ideas. I truly learn something every time I listen. Highly recommend giving Technically Human a listen!

Paul6 ,

Great podcast

Dr. Deb does a great job with riveting conversations. I really like this show and recommend it!

mackenzieelou ,

Learn a little, Think a lot

I listened to this podcast as a part of Dr. Donig’s class at Cal Poly which focusses on the arts and ethics of technology. Every episode prompts the listener to expand their understanding about the necessity of technology in today’s culture and the positive and negative sides to its presence. This podcast was a joy to listen to, thank you Dr. Donig!

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