January 16-17, 2020
Goethe-Institut / Max Mueller Bhavan & The Common Room Foundation, New Delhi, India

India is one of the largest “digital economies”. Confronted with state and corporate control of digital infrastructures, it is seeing an abundance of “gig work” (temporary employment) and platform-based economies that promise new opportunities for entrepreneurship and labor. Meanwhile, AI based solutions are already being tested to replace human interaction and labor for repetitive and predictable work across industries. Over a billion identities in India are digitized today and over a 100 million amongst these participate in digital economies as consumers every day, with the government’s vocal intentions to bridge this disparity with socio-technical imaginaries of urgent last mile connectivity. However, technology based solutions still have mostly reestablished and expanded existing inequities and power relations of capital, gender and human exceptionalism. Instead of offering accountability, accessibility and opportunity, these socio-technical imaginaries act as tools for resource and customer acquisition for power and capital. As countries and economies accelerate further and compete to become attractive global marketplaces, they leave key ethical, social and ecological concerns behind. How do we encode and inscribe sustainability, ethics and care within our techno-social relations and digitopian imaginaries of the future? What role can governance and citizens play in enabling these imaginaries?

The Event
#3 Coding
With Anja Kovacs and Felix Stalder

Data Colonialism and Data Commons
Felix Stalder

In this revised version of his talk as part of the New Alphabet School #3 Coding in New Delhi, the media theorist Felix Stalder asks the crucial question: What if technology is not a progressive force, but rather a conservative force – extending and deepening existing forms of oppression and exploitation, by creating new types of opacity, new areas of dispossession, and new types of dependencies? 

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The Politics of Facial Recognition System: The biased History of Algorithms
Kamran Behrouz

This visual essay by the artist and researcher Kamran Behrouz was presented at the workshop: Code, Layers, Infrastructures as part of the New Alphabet School #3 Coding at the Common Room Foundation, New Delhi.

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'Untitled' from the series Surveyor | Colour pencil on archival pigment print, Hahnemühle Museum, Etching on paper | (c) Rohini Devasher and Project 88, Mumbai, 2013