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Technology, Together.

Technology, Together.

By IIIT Bangalore
IIIT Bangalore has been host to research domains, programs and centers that bring together researchers from engineering, public policy, political science, sociology, economics and many more. To celebrate this diverse research culture, we bring to you “Technology, Together.” a podcast series that dives headfirst into the complex world of technology, critically engaging with social, political and cultural factors that shape the design, development and use of technologies.

Background Music Credits: Shounak Shirodkar (IMT2019)
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#8 The Web as we know it

Technology, Together.

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#3.08 Research-based planning for sustainable and liveable cities
Globally, urbanization, urban development and management debates have been influenced by the “smart city” idea – an idea that has emerged fashionable both in policy and practice. Its main focus appears to be on the role of Information and communication technology (ICT) infrastructure, although related socio-economic as well as political factors have also been discussed. Today, we have with us Dr. Anjali Karol Mohan, an urban and regional planner with an experience of over two decades to discuss what do we miss out when we take a technology-centric approach to urban planning as is the case with Smart Cities and what alternatives exist out there. Dr. Mohan is an urban and regional planner with a PhD in e-governance. Over the past two and a half decades Dr. Mohan’s practice and research straddles development, urban planning and management, public policy and information and communication technologies and development (ICTD). She is a visiting Faculty at the National Law School University of India, Bangalore, International Institute of Information Technology Bangalore and Takshashila Learning Institution.
50:52
June 24, 2022
#3.07 Ordinary Ethics of AI and Storytelling
When it comes to talking about AI ethics, we often hear terms such as bias, fairness, accountability, transparency, human-centered explainable AI, and responsible AI. While they cover major concerns around an AI/data-driven world from technologists’ imagination, they do not capture how these technologies are experienced in everyday lives of people across different physical and social geographies. How do we then create a bottom-up participatory narrative about AI, ethics and algorithmic harm? How do we talk about ordinary ethics of AI? To explore some of these possibilities, today, we have with us Dr. Ranjit Singh. Ranjit is a postdoctoral researcher at the Data and Society Research Institute in New York. Ranjit studies the intersection of data infrastructures, global development, and public policy. His dissertation research advances public understanding of the affordances and limits of Aadhaar, India’s biometrics-based national identification infrastructure, in practically achieving inclusive development and reshaping the nature of citizenship.
49:09
May 30, 2022
#3.06 A Free, Fair and Equitable Digital Society
Everything we do in our everyday lives - from interpersonal relations to work, from travel to entertainment- are almost ubiquitously mediated through digital technologies. So much so that we can hardly prise apart the digital from the social. We live in a digital society that is increasingly complex and unpredictable, leading to new patterns in our existing social institutions and relations. While these changes bring in new opportunities, they also raise concerns about sustainability, equity and justice in a digital world. In response to some of these questions IIITB introduced an interdisciplinary MSc programme in Digital Society in 2015 which trains new-age professionals who would be ready to address complex realities of our digital worlds and to create a more inclusive digital society. As an extension of this programme, we also look to collaborate with other organizations that share this common goal and vision.  Aapti, a bangalore-based research institution is one such organization.  It  generates public, policy-relevant, actionable and accessible knowledge from the frontiers of tech and society, about our networked lives, to support the creation of a fair, free, and equitable society. Today, we have with us its founder Dr. Sarayu Natarajan. Sarayu’s wide expertise spans from management consulting (McKinsey and Company) to venture investing (Elevar Equity), from program development and management (Gray Matters Capital) to academic research. She has a PhD in Political Science from King's College London, a Master's in Public Policy from the School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) at Columbia University, and a arts and law degree from the National Law School of India University, Bangalore (NLSIU). In today's episode, we will discuss Srayu’s experience of establishing Aapti and the kind of work they are dong and their future goals.
38:44
May 12, 2022
#3.05 Navigating a Professional Future in Digital Society
Digital society has grown to be an increasingly significant field of study as we have come to live in an increasingly digital world. In that case, questions around navigating through our everyday digital lives as contributors and change-makers also become relevant. For those working on understanding frameworks and preparing to investigate how digital technologies shape our worlds, charting out a career path that best represents their interests is undoubtedly important. For this, we thought it would be best to hear from one of our own alumni, Prasaanth Balraaj who graduated from the M.Sc. Digital Society programme in 2018. Prior to this, Prasaanth came in with an Electronics Engineering background. Since his graduation, he has worked on design and implementation of various ICTs, specifically within the healthcare industry. Initially he was at Everwell Health Solutions, a leader in the healthcare technology industry. He is currently a Associate Solutions Manager at Wadhwani AI and is working on developing multiple interventions within the healthcare sector.
28:05
April 24, 2022
#3.04 Political Economies of Transnational Labour
Defining identities linked to labour relations has been a problem that has perplexed scholars. To accommodate technological nuances into defining these identities has proved an even more puzzling endeavour. But, our guest today has delved deep into such matters and done so very prudently. Joining us on this episode of Technology Together is Prof. Winifred Poster, a feminist scholar of labour and technology. Winnie’s extensive research on digital globalization has led her to follow high-tech firms from the US to India through earlier waves of computer manufacturing and more recently, in the context of back-office work and call centres. Her work examines how information communication technologies are changing the meaning of work, dispersing it transnationally, incorporating new types of workers, and reshaping identities. In this episode, we speak with Prof. Poster about the political economies of transnational labour.
41:04
March 28, 2022
#3.03 Health & Gender Equity: Role of Big Data
The use of big data in the health industry to contribute to advancing the field is not a new practice. But it is one that has been constantly evolving, especially to support evidence-based policy and practice for population-level impact, This also means that special focus on specific groups of the population is essential to understand varied impacts. This women's day, we try to bring to light the overlap of big data and gender studies within the purview of health. With abundant health data in repositories available for use, the practice of making sense of this data through different lenses becomes imperative. Our guest in this episode does this exactly. She looks at big data and how emerging patterns tell us more about the intersection of gender and health.  Nabamallika Dehingia is a doctoral fellow at the Center for Gender Equity and Health at the University of California, San Diego. Her interests lie in gender equity and health research, the use of machine learning algorithms for applied gender analysis. She is someone who is extremely well-versed in quantitative data analysis, monitoring and evaluation of community-based health interventions. Nabamallika is also interested in using advanced statistical techniques to answer critical questions related to public health.
20:33
March 05, 2022
#3.02 Participatory Media Platforms
Using technology for development has been part of the development discourse for quite some time now. But, what goes into ensuring that these technological solutions rightly impact and benefit those it is meant for? Our guest today is no stranger to confronting such questions on a daily basis. In this episode, we have with us Aaditeshwar Seth, who is the co-founder of Gramvaani, which is a remarkable organisation engaged in creating participatory media platforms that people find accessible and adaptable. Using simple technologies and social context to design tools forms the cornerstone of Gram Vaani as an organisation. Gram Vaani's technologies are deployed across India, Ethiopia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Namibia and South Africa where Mr. Seth is responsible for the company vision and strategy, and he heads the technology development at Graam Vaani.  In this episode of Technology, Together we draw from his work on deploying accessible, effective technological solutions at the grassroot level.
46:14
February 19, 2022
#3.01 AI Systems and Societies
AI has garnered attention the world over. Now, there are both exaggerated claims - such as what it could mean for the future of the human workforce and aspirational use cases of AI. The field of AI arose in its early stages as an attempt to mimic human intelligence using computers. But, how does an AI powered system function when deployed on the ground? Joining us today Vidushi Marda, a lawyer and a researcher who has contributed immensely in investigating the consequences of integrating Artificial Intelligence (AI) systems in societies. Her groundbreaking work has been cited by the Supreme Court of India in a seminal ruling on the Right to Privacy. Vidushi currently works as Senior Programme Officer at ARTICLE 19, where she leads research and engagement on the human rights implications of machine learning. She is also an affiliate researcher at Carnegie India with an exclusive focus on law enforcement use of emerging technologies. In this episode, we draw from her exceptional work on the conception of a suitable framework for AI policy in India and also talk to her about the many implications of our current understanding of AI systems. Visit Vidushi's website to know more about her work: https://vidushimarda.com/
39:59
February 05, 2022
#14 Stranded Workers Action Network
The Stranded Workers Action Network or SWAN is an initiative that sprung in response to the acute crisis faced by migrant workers in the wake of the nationwide lockdown in India, announced in March 2020. SWAN is a volunteer-driven effort that helps migrant worker groups and their families access cash for immediate needs, rations and other essentials by connecting them with civil society organizations, NGOs and volunteers nearest to them. Today, we have with us  Prof. Rajendran Narayanan, who was instrumental in forming SWAN and coordinating its activities for over a year now. Prof. Rajendran, a faculty member at the Azim Premji University in Bangalore works with a network of researchers and activists from various civil society organisations in several states in designing and developing “bottom-up” Janata Information Systems (JIS) that can be used for continuous monitoring of government programmes and social audits. He is interested in understanding what the proliferation of data and over-reliance on technological processes mean for development and participatory democracy. Website: http://strandedworkers.in/
38:57
December 20, 2021
#13 COVID-19 War Stories: Rethinking public health strategies
Following the two devastating waves of the Covid-19 pandemic, for many of us in India and indeed in several regions across the world, haunting images of patients waiting outside hospitals and family members struggling to find a bed for their loved ones may not have faded from memory. To avoid a repeat of this tragic crisis, what are important lessons from this experience? How might we be better prepared in the future? We discuss this in detail with Dr. Nachiket Mor. Dr. Mor was a member of the Planning Commission’s High-Level Expert Group on Universal Health Care, the Primary Care Task Force of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, and the Task Force on Global Health at the Academy of Medicine in Washington DC.  His current work is principally focused on the design of national and regional health systems. He is currently a Visiting Scientist at The Banyan Academy of Leadership in Mental Health and a Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for Information Technology and Public Policy at IIIT Bangalore. In this conversation, Dr. Mor talks to us about the value of a primary care provider or PCP-led model. You can read more on this from Dr. Mor here and here. Some of the research that we mentioned in the podcast could be found below: 1. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/341039677_Empowered_communities_and_Primary_Care_Providers_not_hospitals_hold_the_key_to_building_a_durable_response_to_COVID-19_in_Developing_Countries 2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7562727/
22:35
November 15, 2021
#12 Tracing the cost of transaction failures
Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, the banking world witnessed a huge surge in transactions, one such payment infrastructure was AePS in India. Many providers and government DBT schemes resorted to AePS which led to a huge demand for cash withdrawal by the vulnerable part of the society. This became a much severe issue during the migrant worker's crisis who had to uproot their lives and depend on microATMs for their travel and survival. The issue got accentuated when reports of a spike in transaction failure rates started flooding in. This had serious consequences for the masses who desperately needed to access and remit cash to stay afloat during the crisis. In this episode, we are joined by Malavika Raghavan to talk about the role of technology in enabling financial inclusion, especially among lower-income individuals.  Malavika joined London School of Economics this September as a Ph.D. candidate. She is an interdisciplinary researcher working on data protection & privacy, inclusion, technology and consumer protection in finance. She founded and led the Future of Finance Initiative for Dvara Research in partnership with the Gates Foundation from 2016 until 2020, anchoring its research agenda and policy advocacy on issues at the intersection of technology, finance and inclusion. She serves on the Steering Committees of the Digital Identity Research Initiative (DIRI) at the Indian School of Business, and the Steering Committee of the Data Governance Network at the IDFC Institute. She is a member of the Asian Privacy Scholars Network. In this episode, we discuss the role of technology in enabling financial inclusion, especially among lower-income individuals. The discussion draws on Malavika's research into the gaps in the AePS and their implications (conducted in May 2020). You can find the link to the report titled, "Transaction failure rates in the Aadhaar enabled Payment System: Urgent issues for consideration and proposed solutions", below: https://www.dvara.com/research/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/Transaction-failure-rates-in-the-Aadhaar-enabled-Payment-System-Urgent-issues-for-consideration-and-proposed-solutions.pdf
38:58
October 02, 2021
#11 COVID-19 from the Margins
The current era of our datafied society is still grappling with the effects of its first pandemic. In a race to represent it, our efforts to manage and report the crisis seem to be a numbers game for the most part. This data-driven approach by governments and public discourse has silenced many untold stories from the margins. To explore the pandemic from the perspective of individuals and communities at the margins in the Global South(s), we have with us Silvia Masiero and Soumyo Das. Silvia is an Associate Professor in the Department of Informatics at the University of Oslo and one of the editors of the book 'Covid-19 from the Margins'. Her research is in the area of ICT4D and is currently working with Health Information Systems Programme (HISP). She is the Secretary of the International Federation for Information Processing (IFIP) 9.4 Working Group on the Social Implications of Computers in Developing Countries, a member of the Association for Information Systems (AIS), and a member of the UNESCO Chair in ICT4D. Soumyo is currently a Ph.D. candidate in Management at Emlyon Business School, France. He is also an alumnus of M.Sc. by Research in Information & Society program of IIIT Bangalore. Soumyo authored a chapter in the book which delves deep into the issues raised due to technological interventions like Aarogya Setu in pandemic management particularly in a society like India. Link for the book: https://networkcultures.org/blog/publication/covid-19-from-the-margins-pandemic-invisibilities-policies-and-resistance-in-the-datafied-society/ Link for the blog: https://data-activism.net/blog-covid-19-from-the-margins/
26:22
September 04, 2021
Trailer: Season 2
After a short break, we are back with season 2 of the podcast! This season will be a mini-series of 5 episodes focused on Covid-19 where we bring to you engaging critical discussions on the many ways digital technologies have shaped our lives during the pandemic. We will be joined by experts in economics, law, public policy, and public health to reflect on the role that technology has played during Covid-19, all of the success stories, cautionary tales, episodes of breakdown - we will talk through them.
01:08
September 03, 2021
#10 Learning to think critically
IIIT Bangalore's flexible and holistic curriculum ensures engineering students of the integrated MTech program take up courses from the fields of economics, sociology, web sciences, HCI and so on. This enables students with critical thinking skills and sensitivity to various aspects of technology development. So far in the past episodes, we discussed a few of these aspects with faculty members but as season one comes to an end we wanted to capture the experience of the students who took some of these courses. We have 4 iMTech students across various batches: Aditya Gulati (2016-21), Nithin Raj (2017-22), Aarushi Goenka (2018-23) and Neetha Reddy (2018-23) who share their stories and perspectives over the integration of Humanities and Social Studies (HSS)/Digital Society courses with core engineering curriculum.
40:32
July 03, 2021
#9 Designing ICT Solutions for Public Healthcare
Over the past year, digital technologies were rapidly designed and developed or adapted for various healthcare needs. This could be a contact tracing system, or vaccination portals, online consulting, and so on. What does it take to build such digital platforms and technological systems for healthcare needs? To discuss this, we are joined by Prof. T.K. Srikanth, who heads the E-Health Research Centre at IIIT Bangalore. We specifically talk to him about the Centre’s work on mental health in the public healthcare system. To learn more about the E-Health Research Centre, visit the website given below. E-Health Research Center: https://ehrc.iiitb.ac.in/
31:21
June 12, 2021
#8 The Web as we know it
As the world wide web evolved over the years from a few pages to search engines, e-commerce sites, wikis, and social media platforms, how has it impacted us, humans? We talk about this in detail with Prof. Srinath Srinivasa, who offers an interesting course called the web and the mind that traces the evolution of the web and how it influences our lives. Prof. Srinath is the Dean of Research and Development at IIIT Bangalore and heads IIITB’s Web Science lab which strives to understand the impact of the web on different facets of human life. You can learn more about the lab and his work from the link below: Web Science Lab: http://wsl.iiitb.ac.in/
22:25
May 29, 2021
#7 Aadhaar & Food Security through a HCI lens
When millions of Indians access their food entitlements each month through the Public Distribution System - the largest food distribution network in the world, their access is mediated through a biometrics-based authentication system. How do beneficiaries of PDS navigate these biometrics-based systems to access their food entitlements? What tensions have the biometrics devices caused among dealers who run the PDS fair price shops? In this episode, we discuss these aspects and more with Prof. Preeti Mudliar drawing on her extensive work on the use of Aadhaar in India’s Public Distribution System. To know more about Prof. Preeti Mudliar's work discussed in the podcast, please follow the links below: https://preetimudliar.files.wordpress.com/2020/02/camera-ready.pdf https://preetimudliar.files.wordpress.com/2021/04/chi-2021.pdf https://twentyforty.hiig.de/in-mangals-new-world/
45:38
May 14, 2021
#6 Design: Beyond the User Interface
In this episode of Technology Together, we turn to design researcher and visiting faculty member at IIIT Bangalore, Dr. Linus Kendall, who is an expert in participatory approaches to design. We explore the lesser-known side of Digital Design, one which engages with users and encourages designing with them than for them. We also discuss Dr. Kendall's research with farmers in Bengal, his course on Human Computer Interaction and much more! For more details on Dr. Kendall's work on sustainable agriculture through ICTs, please check: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/01972243.2020.1844828, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sQIWbMY9UP8
43:21
May 01, 2021
#5 Empowering Digital Social Innovation
In the fifth episode of Technology Together, we shift our attention from research to innovation and discuss the need for digital social innovation. We are joined by the former CEO of IIITB Innovation Center, Prof. Ramesh Sundararaman who focuses on digital platforms and societal thinking. We are also joined by Shreyas Gupta, a final year integrated MTech student and an enthusiastic innovator coming from Data Science and HCI background. They touch upon the nature of interdisciplinary learnings necessary to identify and solve social problems. The document regarding Designathon mentioned by Shreyas: https://www.tumblr.com/blog/weareglados
46:14
April 17, 2021
#4 Towards Fair Work
On this episode of ‘Technology, Together’ we have with us 2 guests, Dr. Balaji Parthasarathy and Pradyumna Taduri, who have worked extensively on deconstructing the platform economy in general and the state of platform labour within the Indian context. Drawing on their experiences in the Fair Work project, they discuss some of the ground realities surrounding platform work, the fundamental principles of fairness that they use to assess platform work, and what this could mean for all the actors involved in the long run. Their latest report: https://fair.work/wp-content/uploads/sites/131/2020/12/Fairwork_India_2020_report.pdf The Gig Lane - https://www.thegiglane.com/ -A game developed by Pradyumna Taduri to depict the struggles of platform workers in India. For best experience, kindly access the game link from desktops/laptops.
37:56
March 27, 2021
#3 A Pedagogy for Digital Privacy
Joining us on this episode are Profs. T.K. Srikanth, Janaki Srinivasan and V Sridhar. Prof. TK Srikanth is a computer scientist who is actively involved in multiple collaborative research projects in healthcare as the co-convenor of the E-Health Research Center at IIITB. Prof. Janaki Srinivasan is a social scientist whose research explores privacy, algorithmic control and the role of intermediaries in digital transactions, with an emphasis on the domains of financial inclusion and work automation. Prof. Sridhar is an expert in the techno-economics of networks, telecommunications, internet policy and regulation. Together, they are here to tell us the story of how they came together to design and co-teach a course on digital privacy, especially, at a time when its landscape is constantly shifting.
41:54
March 13, 2021
#2 Time, Agency, and Gendered Work
In this episode, Oindrila Matilal, a PhD scholar in the IT and Society domain at IIIT Bangalore, walks us through the experiences of women returning to work in the software services sector after a maternity break and how policies like flexible work hours shape their retention and participation in the workforce. She recently presented a part of this research at the European Conference on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work (ECSCW) and won the David B. Martin Best Paper Award. Find a link to her paper below: https://dl.eusset.eu/handle/20.500.12015/3413
22:54
February 27, 2021
#1 Envisioning Inclusive STEM Education
In the first episode, we speak to Vidhya and Prof. Amit Prakash about the challenges faced by visually impaired students in STEM education and their efforts to address those challenges. They share insights from their journey of designing, developing and rolling out inclusive technologies. To know further about their work, reach out to: Centre for Accessibility in the Global South (CAGS), IIIT Bangalore: http://cagsiiitb.org/ Vision Empower: http://visionempowertrust.in/
29:37
February 13, 2021
Trailer: Technology, Together.
IIIT Bangalore has been host to research domains, programmes and centers that bring together researchers from engineering, public policy, political science, sociology, economics and many others. To celebrate this diverse research culture, we bring to you “Technology, Together.” a podcast series that dives headfirst into the complex world of technology, critically engaging with social, political and cultural factors that shape the design, development and use of technologies.
01:16
February 07, 2021