Digital transformation is changing our lives at an unprecedented pace: we are flooded with information, we produce and consume data with every heartbeat, we find love online, we spread hate online, the social media platforms know more about us than our close friends and family, Big Tech companies can even predict our behaviour. Democracy is under attack; resistance has become cyber.
How do these changes affect our visions of the future? In her talk Azadeh Akbari, Assistant Professor of Public Administration and Digital Transformation at the University of Twente in the Netherlands, will discuss examples of digital transformation, highlighting important debates in ›Digital Governance‹ – the overarching management of digital systems. She will also delve into the evolution of smart city projects, especially authoritarian smart cities, and discuss NEOM, the controversial flagship linear smart city in Saudi Arabia.
Subsequently, Akbari will look at border management and the digitalisation of humanitarian aid by scrutinising blockchain technologies used in refugee camps. And finally, she will tap into the internet infrastructure and why Big Tech companies are offering developing countries free internet. The talk portrays a global picture of digital trends and challenges, aiming to provide its audience with valuable insights into the crucial societal changes associated with them.
As part of the 1/2/8 Research Forum – Spot on Governance.
A project within the framework of The Alliance of International Production Houses, funded by the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media.
Azadeh Akbari is Assistant Professor in Public Administration and Digital Transformation at the University of Twente in the Netherlands, and a member of the board of directors of the International Surveillance Studies Network. She was a journalist for many years and worked as a communication manager and community outreach specialist at the UNHCR, UNICEF, and the British Council. She is a contributor to many leading media outlets, including The Guardian and CNN, commenting on Internet governance and surveillance technologies in authoritarian regimes. She is the co-editor of two upcoming books on Critical Information & Communication Technology for Development, and the International Handbook of Critical Surveillance Studies. Azadeh Akbari studied sociology (BA) and journalism in Iran and gender research (MSc) at the London School of Economics and Political Sciences. She obtained her PhD in human geography from the University of Heidelberg.