History shows that technological waves have triggered transformations in the ways society functions and organises itself. The wave driven by digitalisation and its specific applications (A.I., big data, internet, VR, IoT, etc.) is not an exception, but rather illustrative of a new era of technological change which is reshaping global governance, sustainable development and international relations.
There is little doubt that digital technologies have offered (and continue to offer) a vast number of opportunities to tackle the challenges of economic development, social change, and environmental crises humanity faces. Yet, the speed and scope of exponential technological change pose the risk of reproducing existing inequalities in the next few decades, benefiting privileged social groups and leaving behind, yet again, those who lack access to good-quality and dignified ways of living. There are direct and indirect implications. The most direct and obvious effect of accelerated digital transformations that lack a human face and are not justice-centred is an increasing digital divide between rich and poor, genders, as well as between the so-called Global North and the Global South. But there are other, less evident challenges: The transformation of job markets, including the “re-taylorisation” of mid-skilled job posts and the re-territorialisation of foreign direct investment; the ecological footprint of digitalisation itself, such as the excessive consumption of water and energy, but also including the territorially localised environmental and social impacts of mining activities in order to obtain rare elements such as lithium; the emergence of political “echo chambers” that favour the polarisation of the political spectrum. Seen this way, digitalisation has a dark side, and it can create obstacles and deterrents to achieving global development goals.
In this respect, a deeper and more careful analysis of digital transformations should encompass both positive and negative implications beyond the mere identification of impacts. It requires considering a wide array of ethical, cultural, environmental, and distributive effects.
The purpose of this blog is to open a space for informed opinions by experts, consultants, policy makers, and scholars from a wide array of disciplines to develop a common understanding on both the positive and negative aspects of digitalisation, with an emphasis on equality and inclusiveness as end-goals and guiding parameters that should be mainstreamed across different aspects of national and global agendas. ABOUT THE CONTRIBUTIONS
Policy oriented pieces, with concrete recommendations are welcome, but also theoretical contributions from different fields within the social sciences and the humanities, such as sociological and historical approaches that increase our understanding of digitalisation-based technologies as a set of devices and developments which are embedded into broader socio-political processes. Technical approaches that cover engineering aspects of digital technologies may also be submitted, as well as more abstract ethical debates, provided the language and extension are accessible to non-specialised readers.
EDITORIAL TEAM· Nicola Bilota· Carlos Domínguez· Amit Kumar· Andrea Robles· Ben Stewart FORMAT GUIDELINES
A blog contribution (hereafter “post”) is a written piece, closely identified with its author and should convey both substantive information and opinion. Every post needs a message and /or position. It must contain a clear argument.
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