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Technology and Sustainable Economic Development. Nov 15, 2002. Outline. Introductions Motivation + Objectives Format Themes + Topics Living laboratory Today’s presentation proper. Introducing Ourselves. Alastair Iles

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  • Introductions

  • Motivation + Objectives

  • Format

  • Themes + Topics

  • Living laboratory

  • Today’s presentation proper

Introducing ourselves
Introducing Ourselves

  • Alastair Iles

    • Postdoctoral research fellow at Society & Environment; Energy and Resources Group, UCB

    • Ph.D in environmental policy, Harvard, ‘00

    • Research interests in policy, science, politics

  • Matthew Kam

    • 2nd-yr Ph.D. student in EECS with primary interest in Human-Centered Computing

    • B.A. Economics, B.S. EECS, UCB ’01

    • B.A. thesis was his first shot at development microeconomics


  • Have not encountered similar opportunity at UCB for cross-disciplinary engagement on this topic

  • Technical design often isolated from social factors


  • But new research suggests:

    • Successful use of technology depends on tacit work practices developed for specific contexts

    • Decentralized technology may be more effective than centralized ones

    • Others?


  • Dual-track initiative

    • Technology track: How do we design technology for sustainable development?

    • Social track: What are the broader social, business and political contexts influencing the success of these designs?


  • Forum for interested UCB students to

    • Get acquainted

    • Keep up with related developments

    • Incubate alternative visions to advance sustainable development in both developing and developed countries using technology

    • Others? (do a poll here)

Intended participants
Intended Participants

  • All interested folks are welcome!

  • Not restricted to Ph.D. students(we also have an undergraduate, exchange student, recent UCB graduates, and postdoc)

  • Not restricted to EECS, ERG or SIMS(would benefit from MBA, public policy, public health, other science/engineering and social sciences inputs)

Tentative format
Tentative Format

  • Weekly 1-hour meetings

  • Format:

    • Presentation by volunteer (15 min)

    • Break-out discussions (15 min)

    • Combined discussion (20 min)

  • Format to be reviewed by everyone in last session of Fall ’02 (Dec 13)

Broad themes
Broad Themes

  • Technology

    • Participatory design

    • Decentralized systems

  • Sustainable development

    • Economic, sociopolitical viability

    • Distributive effects of technology deployment

  • To review collectively after Fall ’02

Specific topics
Specific Topics

  • Rotate among participants’ areas of interest / specialization

  • Topics:

    • EECS (albeit with SIMS / HCI / STS flavor)

    • Green technology

    • Economics

    • Others? (do a poll here)

  • Tentative plan: Fix topics for each session in advance, students (or volunteer presenter) in respective areas agree on reading(s)

Living laboratory
Living Laboratory

  • Intimate, long-term exposure to the design, use and evolution of technology promotes deeper appreciation and understanding

  • To observe CHSP regulations

  • Findings to be shared (and debated) among participants

  • Collectively work towards an interpretation, i.e. the “lessons learnt”

Living laboratory1
Living Laboratory

  • First shot: Livenotes

    • Collaborative note-taking application

    • Handheld wireless tablets

    • E.g. of a decentralized, interactive technology

  • Call for volunteers (approx. 3)

Technology and sustainable economic development

Any questions before we proceed with presentation of today’s readings?

  • What works?What doesn’t?

  • We’ll collectively review the reading group’s organization in last session of Fall ’02 (Dec 13)

Today s readings
Today’s readings today’s readings?

  • Two chapters from the Worldwide Wildlife Fund report on IT/sustainability, July 2002:

    - Zambrano: intergovernmental funding and strategies for promoting technology

    - Wijkman & Afifi: what technology can do (today’s focus)

  • Written by government bureaucrats.

  • Focused on information technology (IT).

  • Just a starting point for discussion...

Beginning caveats
Beginning Caveats... today’s readings?

  • What does “technology” cover? IT is just one of the technologies that could support sustainable development; technology designed for other purposes may be applied to environmental purposes.

  • What does sustainable development mean?The readings take it for granted that we know what SD is.

Wijkman afifi 1
Wijkman & Afifi (1) today’s readings?

  • Argues:

    - IT will transform society without physical work or materials

    - IT can help developing countries “leapfrog” over pollution and reduce energy intensity

    - UNDP Report 2001 shows that IT can help promote economic growth

    - however: there is a “digital divide” that exacerbates poverty, unemployment, underdevelopment...

Wijkman afifi 2
Wijkman & Afifi (2) today’s readings?

  • Argues:

    - the equity of the IT changes depends on human capital

    - “Those best placed to identify their tech. needs are the different stakeholders themselves.”

    - deliberate policy-making by governments is central.

    - the international community/market has been very slow to invest in IT in developing countries: the UN is disappointing.

Wijkman afifi 3
Wijkman & Afifi (3) today’s readings?

  • Examples of IT Uses:

    - farmers using the web or cell phones to check going prices for their produce

    - Village Knowledge Centers (South India)

    - Grameen Bank Pay Phones (Bangladesh)

    - Reproductive Health On-line (Uganda)

    - cyber kiosks run by village entrepreneurs (India)

Wijkman afifi 4
Wijkman & Afifi (4) today’s readings?

  • Questions:

    - Is “information” really separate from physical work and systems? Isn’t human capital needed to adapt IT to local social settings?

    - To what degree are “leapfrogging” and “climbing ladders” really effective?

    - Is there an excessive focus on web-based approaches, as contrasted to other IT technologies? The “put-everything-online” syndrome.

Wijkman afifi 5
Wijkman & Afifi (5) today’s readings?

More questions:

- Isn’t this approach like “e-government” and not participatory or grassroots?

- Where are the communities whose needs are supposedly being addressed?

- There is no mention of the energy needed to support the IT: how will this energy be provided?