Lift09 — Ramesh Srinivasan — Cultural Futures [en]

What would a diverse digital world/web look like?

How is the web impacting the world?

Design exposed Ramesh to questions of culture. *(steph-note: I think this is a very good point/thing.)*

Put technology in the hands of *people*: things happen. Used in a different way and in a different context than what they were planned for.

Cultures understand how to take technologies to use them in ways that best benefit them.

Usability tends to push us towards thinking that there are specific uses for the technology, and we design them for those uses. But out there in the wild, other uses appear.

Example: Native American communities in Southern California, spread across reservations, connected through wifi.

Rethinking the museum. Piece of pottery — viewed by Zunis through stories, uses, rather than characteristics. Intersection between what the Zuni say about the piece of pottery, and the museum.

Video camera in villages in Andhra Pradesh. People seeing themselves in different ways.

=> comparative study Ramesh ran. 2 villages, similar demographics. “Create videos” around their everyday lives.

What happens? specially in an environment where 80% of the villagers are illiterate?

Power of choice. Characteristics of illiterate societies (very ritualized). When they start creating videos, some kind of literacy settles in. They’d take videos of things in the communities that were wrong, and send it to the government. Social action. Posted on YouTube, even!

What happened?

Mobility, dissemination, social capital, dialogue outside the focus group, confronting ritualization by interrupting everyday life.

Taking it to Policy. Scale vs. The Local.

How do policy-makers view the world? Example, waterlogging (monsoon). Hundreds of terms in people’s vocabulary for that, but only one for those complaints on a policy level.

Public Grievance & Redressal website

Where to start? tagging to overcome ontology issues, for example.

Two main issues:

a) how do we develop web systems that actually show controversy (wikipedia doesn’t really show that, for example *steph-note: except in talk pages*)

b) search: information has moved from “in your mind” to “what you can find = Google”. Google’s algorithm is based on a certain idea of how things should be found. eg search for Africa — head over to page 3 at least to find the first page *produced* by/in Africa… that says something! How do we show different ways of solving a problem?

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