Why Digitalis?

digitalis_purpurea_-_kohler-s_medizinal-pflanzen-053-230x300Digitalis is a plant, Digitalis purpurea, commonly known as foxglove.

It’s well known to be poisonous – but it’s also used to regulate the human pulse and is the source of commonly used drugs for heart conditions, epilepsy and other seizure disorders.

As well as its name relating to the digital world we know today, symbolically it illustrates how the benefits and advances of the digital world can be poisonous as well. They sneak into many aspects of most people’s lives and impact our lifestyles both positively and negatively. Digitalization is contagious: it becomes more and more difficult to distance oneself from its appeal while it simultaneously threatens our privacy. It is a drug of which the right dose needs to be found to make it work for and not against us. Or, as Emmanuel Letouzé states:

“With policymaking increasingly looking like big data’s next frontier, is this phenomenon  poised to be a blessing or a curse for human development and social progress?” (2015).

As students of Communication for Development we are particularly interested in what happens when the 2.0 digital world meets the 1.5 world of development policy and practice.

Let’s start exploring…

Letouzé, E. (2015). Big Data for Development: Facts and Figures. Science Development Net