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Last updated: Version 2.3 (Updated May 15, 2018).

Thursday, May 17 • 12:00 - 13:15
Fast-forward to 2030: Can technology break the silos around human rights?

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One of the crucial challenges for the human rights field is that it has siloed itself within its own quarters, creating echo chambers where practitioners preach to the converted and leave out most of society. This has played well into the current state of social media communications and technology, allowing them to reinforce the silos to the advantage of authoritarian regimes that isolate the human rights field and prevent it from being able to speak to the rest of equally siloed publics. This has been the perfect recipe for polarization, as seen in countries like the US, Philippines, and India. In short, just as technology can connect, it can also be utilized to divide. This has further decreased the power of human rights as a common ground for safeguarding human dignity. Can the field of human rights and technology break through these siloes, using technology as a powerful tool and partner than a divisive weapon? How can the connective capacity of technology be bolstered and its divisive effect be blunted?

The human rights and technology fields have been trying to grapple with this and react. However, most of the decisions made by human rights actors and the technology industry (or most humans in general) are based on current reality, or at the most an approximation of a short-term future. But why not plan backwards from carefully crafted future scenarios of 2030?

In this event, we will gather experts from various disciplines that do not necessarily talk to one another to lay out the potentials and threats to real conversations between human rights and society that are caused by technology. We will then put them and the rest of the audience to work to hash out likely scenarios of the future so we can start being truly strategic. Given the future, what is technology’s role in opening real conversations, and even producing powerful narratives, to foster a culture of respect for rights and protection of dignity?

avatar for Sam Gregory

Sam Gregory

Program Director, WITNESS
In short....video, human rights, deepfakes, media manipulation, citizen participation, role of companies, AI, live video and experiential activismIn "long"...Sam Gregory is an award-winning technologist, media-maker, and advocate, and Program Director of WITNESS (www.witness.org) which helps people use video and technology to defend human rights. Founded after the Rodney King incident, WITNESS has 30 years of experience in 100+ countries, supporting critical uses of video to secure accountability, reaching millions of people with skills and tools, engaging... Read More →

Thursday May 17, 2018 12:00 - 13:15 EDT