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The complex relationship between technology and social outcomes is well known and has recently seen significant attention due to the deepening of technology use in many domains. This includes issues such as the reproduction of inequality due to the digital divide, threats to democracy due to misinformation propagated through social networking platforms, algorithmic biases that can perpetuate structural injustices, hardships caused to citizens due to misplaced assumptions about the gains expected from the use of information technology in government processes, and simplistic beliefs that technology can easily lead to social development.

This timely work draws attention to the varying factors by which technology often leads to disempowerment effects. Seth makes a call to technologists to burst the technology optimism bubble, build an ethos for taking greater responsibility in their work, collectivize to similarly shape the internal governance of their organizations, and engage with the rest of society to strengthen democracy and build an acceptance that the primary goal of technology projects should be to bring equality by overturning unjust societal structures.

See the book and come listen to the author on 23 February.

About the author
Aaditeshwar Seth is an Associate Professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at the Indian Institute of Technology Delhi (IIT-D), and co-founder of the social technology enterprise Gram Vaani. He is passionate about building appropriate technologies and participatory tools that can empower marginalized and oppressed communities to collectivize and voice themselves.

About the moderator
Srinivas Kodali is a interdisplinary researcher working on technology, data and governance.

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Book Club is an initiative to discuss books and different genres of writing. Reach out to Hasgeek and Hageek TV on Twitter to connect for Book Club discussions. more