HSS Tuesday Seminar: Ensuring Responsible Outcomes from Technology

HSS Tuesday Seminar: Ensuring Responsible Outcomes from Technology

Presentation in the HSS Seminar Series at the Dept of Humanities and Social Sciences

Prof Aaditeshwar Seth, Department of Computer Science & Engineering, IIT Delhi, will talk on 'Ensuring Responsible Outcomes from Technology.


The optimism behind Internet technologies being able to make the world a better place, has visibly suffered a setback in recent times. I will begin with a view from the trenches based on my own experience of operating a technology-based social enterprise about why it is complex to ensure that responsible outcomes arise from technology. I believe however that navigating these complexities is indeed possible, given the right inclination on part of the designers and managers of these technologies. This leads to the question of why this responsibility is often ignored. The answer I feel partly lies in our education curriculum that does not include a critical reflection on the interaction between technology and society, and partly in the wider political economy behind enterprises and the state that create and regulate technologies. Continuing this thread, I will briefly also talk about some recent work by our group in using mass media analysis to understand the political economy behind information technology policies in India.


Aaditeshwar Seth is faculty in the Department of Computer Science at IIT Delhi, where he runs the ACT4D (Appropriate Computing Technologies for Development) research group. He is passionate about building technologies that can empower people with information. He also runs a social enterprise, Gram Vaani, which builds voice-based systems for community media in rural areas. Work done by Aaditeshwar's team and students are now in use by over 150 developmental organizations, and more than 2 million people have directly touched their platforms. Several elements of their work have also been adopted by government departments for scaleup, and have influenced the use of ICTs for development within many international aid and development organizations.

The talk will be held on 12th February at 3:30 PM in the HSS Committee Room (MS 610).