Democratizing Technologies Report Available For Download

CNS News

On November 13-15, 2014, CNS-UCSB brought together an international array of NGOs with environmental and social justice concerns, scholars, technologists, government officials, and journalists to discuss two key questions: How can NGOs produce more equitable and sustainable outcomes of emerging technologies? What are the implications of NGO participation in governance for democracy and technological advancement? The conference, called Democratizing Technologies: Assessing the Roles of NGOs in Shaping Technological Futures, merited three days of talks, panels, debates, and discussions between actors tackling the same set of issues from several divergent angles.

Aside from creating a rich intellectual archive, these conversations bore directly on policy decisions and NGO operational strategy. Specifically they addressed a globalized world where governments have not or cannot keep pace with technological innovations and respond to concerns regarding their societal impacts and where  non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have attempted to fill this void as representatives of publics and public interests. For this reason CNS-UCSB has taken efforts to make the outcomes of Democratizing Technologies to as wide a public as possible, including policymakers, nonprofits, and the general population. As part of those efforts, we have produced a report on the conference proceedings, a digital version of which is available for free download here.

[click on image to download full report]

Conference proceeding addressed technologies, for example, in the areas of GIS, robots, water filtration, GMOs, energy, transportation, new media, and medicine, and their implications for democracy, environmental health and safety, worker rights, responsible innovation, and responsible development.

Report authors are:

Xueying Han, CNS-UCSB Postdoctoral Scholar

Cassandra Engeman, CNS-UCSB Senior Research Fellow and PhD Candidate in Sociology

Barbara  Herr Harthorn, CNS-UCSB Director and Professor of Anthropology

Richard Appelbaum, CNS-UCSB co-PI, MacArthur Chair of Global and International Studies, and Research Professor of Sociology