Future Histories: Social movements can shape a sustainable, digital future

February 2, 2021; Publisher: ; Format: ,

Tuesday, 2 February 2021.
12-2pm AEDT

(Monday, Feb. 1, 2021
6–8 p.m. in Edmonton, Canada)

The rapid advances of digital technology show how human ingenuity and cooperation has the potential to overcome profound challenges, reduce inequality and develop a sustainable world.

But so far, the digital revolution has not delivered. Digital technology has invaded our physical and psychological spaces, often without our consent, sometimes without our knowledge. It has created billionaires, while relegating billions to struggle with insecure and underpaid work. The backbone of the Internet is directed towards commerce rather than human flourishing.

Technology is presented as a force of nature—but technology is made by human hands.

We can create a world in which technology is put to work in service of the many rather than the few. As Lizzie O’Shea shows us, history can show us how people can organize successfully to hold power accountable. We’ll hear how labour worked collectively to redistribute the benefits of industrialization in the 1800s. The internet itself is shown to be the product of public investment and research. States developed regulation to ensure design processes respected human rights.

By turning to the past, we can help create future histories that show how we came together to build a sustainable, peaceful and prosperous world.

International Week: February 1–6, 2021

This is the opening keynote for the University of Alberta’s International Week.

A warming globe, increasing numbers of refugees and displaced persons, gender disparity, economic inequalities, freshwater shortages, famine, war… We are bombarded with these issues and many others facing the planet and its inhabitants every day. The UN established the Sustainable Development Goals to address these issues, but time is running out. We have less than ten years until the 2030 deadline to reach the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. How can we do it?

Find hope and opportunity for action at International Week 2021 (I-Week).

I-Week is a chance for you to hear various perspectives and to engage in deep conversations about global issues. International Week speakers will connect their work to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which were adopted in 2015 The Goals call on governments and civil society around the world to address the world’s most pressing issues from poverty and education to health and environment.

UAlberta’s annual International Week is an incubator of ideas and a source of inspiration for us to work together for a better world.