Authors:

  • Sharath Srinivasan

Abstract

Cover Art for Carr Center Discussion Papers Breaking from big tech, civic activists, and human rights advocates working with technology are envisioning data, platforms and intelligent systems aligned with pluralism and solidarity. These experiences are inspiring valuable reflections not only for those working at the intersection of technology and human rights but also for anyone who wants to challenge the technological status quo. In this set of six provocations, projects carried out by the Centre of Governance and Human Rights (CGHR) at the University of Cambridge provide valuable insights. An examination of concrete examples, such as an anti-racism witnessing platform and a public health citizen data initiative in Eastern Africa, surfaces seemingly mundane issues involved in technology design that connect with longstanding concerns for the human rights movement. Such reflections become especially provocative when combined with deep insights stemming from critical race, feminist, and decolonial approaches to digital design, data, and AI. More specifically, these provocations suggest the urgency of: (1) resisting the frenetic pace of technology development through slow tech; (2) favoring communicative instead of extractive approaches to data creation; (3) acknowledging the ambiguity of voice in data interpretation; (4) designing platforms that enable bottom-up critiques; (5) embracing the burden and privilege of data creation and interpretation; and (6) creating data with care, i.e., in a way that nurtures the communities and territories that make data possible in the first place.

Citations

Sebastián Lehuedé, Ella McPherson, and Sharath Srinivasan. 11/6/2023. “Provocations for Human Rights & Technology”. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Kennedy School.