16
Mar 16

Imagining the future – untapped potential of ICT4D

Typically, the development industry can be described as rather reactionary. While the private sector constantly drives innovation, in development things generally seem to take a bit longer. It is then not surprising that when it comes to utilizing Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) in and for development, things could be more dynamic and up-to-date.

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14
Mar 16

No quick fixes with “uber smart” technology

Uber Technologies Inc is the Silicon Valley-based business behind the highly successful ride-hailing app through which the company wants to transform the future of human transporting. The technology company has however not been embraced everywhere and now faces a regulatory onslaught as it is expanding in Europe. Some will compare the business with successful tech giants such as Facebook and Google, whereas others might see it as yet another example of a company setting out to solve global problems in a ”solutionist” era.

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13
Mar 16

ICT4D – utilitarian tool versus digital leisure

In the Global North, new media are so incorporated into people’s daily lives that they have become second nature for many. Communicating and sharing through social media is the norm and sometimes reaches excessive levels. Who has not seen, or been part of a group sitting at a table with everyone ‘present’ looking at their smartphones, instead of talking to the people right in front of them? While it is seen as typical behavior in the Global North, when thinking of someone using a smartphone for entertainment in a remote village or slum in the Global South this type of behavior would be considered unusual.

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11
Mar 16

Digital elections – a threat to democracy?

Media reporting combining “elections” and “data” stand in striking contrast. As usual, there appears to be a North and South divide. In the Global North data is said to potentially deprive voters of “free will” and democracy. Dealing with the Global South, even something like “open real-time election data” is described as an achievement and a step towards freedom and democracy.

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10
Mar 16

New media and humanitarian reporting

The image of the three year old Syrian boy lying face down on the beach of Bodrum last year hardly escaped anyone. It first spread ”like wildfire” through Turkish social media and was then shared by people all over the world. Vice spoke to the photgrapher Nilüfer Demir, who said that the sight kept her awake at night and that she hoped the image would change the way we look at immigration.

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10
Mar 16

Big Data – a stakeholder analysis

By 2020, the majority of data available worldwide will be geo located, i.e. linked to internet and mobile activity. Like all change this offers threats and opportunities to stakeholders, both to international organizations, viewed as the traditional heralds of world statistics, and the source of most of it, i.e. the Global South. The cornelian dilemma is whether and how the cyber corporations, today’s legal owners of data, are willing share this new source of competitive advantage?

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08
Mar 16

Development Communication meets digital world 2.0 – or not quite?

Social media provide a myriad of new opportunities for organizations to communicate, to reach new audiences and networks. They are very affordable as a communication tool and therefore particularly attractive for non-governmental organizations (NGOs). Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, Instagram and other social media are new platforms where organizations can build relationships and engage stakeholders. The question is, what happens when communication about development meets the digital world 2.0? How do NGOs use social media and are they indeed making use of the full potential social media offer?

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07
Mar 16

Gaining relevant data – a real challenge

As computers and mobile phones are steadily getting cheaper more people in the world gets access to the internet. In the Global South many countries have ‘leapfrogged’ to mobile devices. With the rapid spreading of digital communication technologies, many international development organisations see an opportunity to fill gaps when it comes to data information available on populations in low- and middle income countries.

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06
Mar 16

Internet – a new barrier to participate in level playing field

A closer look into internet’s promise of development, both economic and in terms of life improvement, leads to the painstaking evidence that the internet is becoming yet another barrier to participate in a level playing field. This has important policy implications in the Global South, and demands better understanding of the network economy itself, if the Global South is to reap benefits of the digitalised age.

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03
Mar 16

How social are social media – empowered people or large-scale surveillance?

Within just a few years it has become difficult for many of us to imagine a life without social media. All around the globe more and more people are signing up to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Pintrest and other platforms every day, sharing details of their lives and their opinions with their virtual communities. The question is, however, how social are social media? Have social media changed societies for the better? Have they helped to empower ordinary citizens by giving them a voice to reach millions of people? Or are social media a wolf in sheep’s clothing, facilitating large scale surveillance of unprecedented proportions, making George Orwell’s Big Brother a reality? Continue reading →