CALL FOR PAPERS: 1st IFIP 9.4 Virtual Conference – RESILIENT ICT4D

The COVID-19 emergency has posed a heavy burden on health infrastructures in the developing world. As an unprecedented crisis, the pandemic has had severe social, redistributional and economic impacts on vulnerable groups, affecting the development processes that the IFIP Working Group 9.4 on Implications of Information and Digital Technologies for Development has traditionally dealt with. With the new disease posing a development challenge for all nations, a global development paradigm (Oldenkop et al., 2020) emerged in studying responses to it. In the spirit of “making a better world” with ICTs that characterises the ethos of ICT4D (Walsham, 2012), engagements with such responses have interested our research during the pandemic.

At the same time, ICT4D research on topics different from the ongoing crisis is itself influenced by the pandemic in diverse ways. Planning and conducting fieldwork in the forms we knew it became impracticable, with researchers having to resort to alternative ways to access respondents and field sites. Conferencing, and with it the interactions that are crucial to our academic growth have abruptly moved to the digital world, with new affordances (such as abating barriers of cost and travel) but also new constraints, connected to the digital recreation of a traditionally physical world. Resilience, seen with Heeks and Ospina (2019) as the ability of systems to cope with external shocks and trends, became crucial to us as ICT4D colleagues, both in the conduct of research and in the interactional aspects of our lives as academic community.

Against this backdrop, a Resilient ICT4D is what has emerged from the COVID-19 crisis, and the theme inspiring our Virtual IFIP 9.4 Conference on Implications of Information and Digital Technologies for Development to take place on 26-28 May 2021. While pertaining to themes of ICT4D research in and beyond the pandemic, the tracks in the conference are underpinned by the need for a resilient attitude that, in the face of one of the greatest shocks ever suffered by humanity, keeps alive the spirit of “making a better world” with ICTs.

References

Heeks, R., & Ospina, A. V. (2019). Conceptualising the link between information systems and resilience: A developing country field study. Information Systems Journal, 29(1), 70-96.

Oldekop, J. A., Horner, R., Hulme, D., Adhikari, R., Agarwal, B., Alford, M., Heeks, R. & Zhang, Y. F. (2020). COVID-19 and the case for global development. World Development134, 105044.

Walsham, G. (2012). Are we making a better world with ICTs? Reflections on a future agenda for the IS field. Journal of Information Technology, 27(2), 87-93.

Papers for IFIP 9.4 2021

Papers for the IFIP 9.4 Virtual Conference should be formatted according to the template for submissions to IFIP 9.4 conferences. Please note the word limits for full research papers (5000 words for text excluding abstract, diagrams, tables and references) and for research in progress/practitioner reports of experience and reflection (2500 words for text excluding abstract, diagrams, tables and references).

Submissions should be sent to ifip94conference@gmail.com by the deadline of 6 April 2021. Please indicate “IFIP 9.4 Virtual Conference” in the subject line, and please ensure the email text specifies names, contact emails and affiliations for all authors, as well as the track to which the paper is submitted.

Timeline

  • 10 January 2021– Deadline for Track Proposals
  • 15 January 2021– Tracks Announced
  • 6 April 2021 – Papers Due
  • 30 April 2021 – Reviews Due
  • 5 May 2021 – Notification to Authors
  • 20 May 2021 –  Revision Due for Papers Accepted with Mandatory Changes
  • 26-28 May 2021 –  IFIP 9.4 Virtual Conference

Tracks for IFIP 9.4 2021:

  • ICT and Resilience Building: Climate Change, Pandemic, and Other Stressors
  • Digital Platforms in, from and in-between the Global South and North
  • Data Science in Public Health
  • ICT4D and Data Justice
  • Our Digital Lives (IFIP 9.5 Track)
  • Digital Social Enterprises & COVID-19: Enablers, Sustainability & Pathways
  • Feminist and Queer approaches to Information Systems in Developing Countries
  • Displacements, ICTs, and #NewNormal
  • Digital Authoritarianism and Fundamentalism: Problems and Solutions
  • The Role of ICT in Achieving Social Justice (ICT4SJ)
  • Potential and risks of advanced technologies in the Global South
  • Digitalization for Indigenous Emancipation
  • Media Analysis and Studies
  • General Track

Contact address for general questions on the Conference: ifip94conference@gmail.com

Track 1
ICTs and Resilience-Building: Climate Change, Pandemics, and Other Stressors

Track chairs:

Sifiso Dlamini, Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, Pretoria, South Africa

Richard Heeks, Centre for Digital Development, University of Manchester, UK

Mario Marais, Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, Pretoria, South Africa

Angelica Ospina, Independent Consultant, Ottawa, Canada

P.J. Wall, ADAPT Centre, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland

Rationale:

As we know only too well from current events, the increasingly-interconnected world of the 21st century will be marked by a growing number and severity of systemic stressors: short-term shocks like economic crises and pandemics, and longer-term trends like climate change and automation (WEF 2020).  To address this, social systems at all levels – households, communities, organisations, cities, supply chains, nations, etc. – must become more resilient (defined here as the ability of these systems to withstand, recover from, adapt to, and potentially transform amid external stressors) (Heeks & Ospina 2019).  Resilience-building will thus be an increasingly-important part of the international development agenda (IDA 2019).

Information and communication technologies (ICTs) can weaken resilience; for example by making systems over-dependent on external stakeholders or opening systems up to external disruption (Heeks & Ospina 2015).  However, ICTs also have a crucial role to play in strengthening the resilience of systems at all levels, and are being progressively applied to this aim (ibid.).

Our track seeks papers that analyse how ICTs impact resilience of all types of socio-economic, socio-political and socio-ecological systems in the global South; with a particular interest in resilience-building.  Systems can be any of those identified earlier: households, communities, organisations, cities, supply chains, nations, and more.

We welcome papers on resilience to all types of stressor (economic crisis, pandemic, climate change, automation and other) and also papers on general resilience-building.

References:

Heeks, R. & Ospina, A.V. (2015) Analysing urban community informatics from a resilience perspective, Journal of Community informatics, 11(1), 1-14

Heeks, R. & Ospina. A.V. (2019) Conceptualising the link between information systems and resilience: a developing country field study, Information Systems Journal, 29(1), 70-96

IDA (2019) IDA19: Ten Years to 2030: Growth, People, Resilience, International Development Association, World Bank, Washington, DC

WEF (2020) The Global Risks Report 2020, World Economic Forum, Geneva

Track 2

Digital Platforms in, from and in-between the Global South and North

Track Chairs:

Kari Koskinen, Aalto University, Aalto, Finland

Aleksi Aaltonen, Temple University, Philadelphia, USA

Digital platforms received increasing attention among ICT4D scholars as exemplified by the recent call for papers for a special issue in ISJ and EJISDC. In the development context, platforms can enable access to and facilitate actions would be prohibitively expensive or difficult to orchestrate using traditional means; at the same time, digital platform create new forms of dependency and introduce individuals and communities to operational logics that are not always well-suited to the local context. In this track, we want to explore the specific implications of digital platforms on developmental and other outcomes in the Global South but also to look for contributions to platform theory from the Global South. We intend the track to be inclusive in terms of specific issues, research designs and theoretical perspectives to be discussed. However, we encourage the papers to explicitly take the platform technology as IT artefact into account (Orlikowski and Iacono, 2001), that is, the platform should not be a mere context for studying other things but the paper should concern, in one way or the other, digital platforms and their connections with the Global South. In other words, we are especially interested in research that explicitly links the underlying technological characteristics of platforms to the projected platform outcomes yet without ignoring the role played by social and other contextual factors.

Topics may include (but are not limited to):

  1. Positive and negative implications of digital platforms in the Global South and how these emerge or are shaped by new forms of platform technology
  2. How platforms foster digital dependencies in the Global South and between the Global South and North, e.g. in terms of digital resources, regulation, local livelihoods and societal structures, and what are the possible consequences of these dependencies?
  3. Differences between platforms that originate from the Global South and North; How do platforms from the Global South differ from the ones from the Global North, and what kinds of local adaptations are needed for a platform to succeed in the Global South.
  4. Innovation platforms (e.g. Android) in the global South and their local complementors: how well do the available boundary resources offered by the platforms enable the 3rd party developers to address contextual specifics in the global South.    
  5. Contextual specifics of platform ecosystems and governance in the Global South.
  6. Shortcomings of and contributions to platform theory from the perspective of Global South; what can we learn about platforms as a new form of governing transactions by studying them in contexts outside the Global North.

References:

Orlikowski, W. J., & Iacono, C. S. (2001). Research commentary: Desperately seeking the “IT” in IT research—A call to theorizing the IT artifact. Information Systems Research, 12(2), 121-134.

Track 3

Data Science in Public Health: Potential and Challenges

Track Chair:

Biju Soman, Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences and Technology, Trivandrum, India

Data science is an interdisciplinary field that involves concepts, theories, technologies, and tools for knowledge generation from raw datasets. Public health aims to attain healthy populations, and data science is a natural ally for it, given the growth in technologies, industries, digitalization drive, and issues like emerging infectious diseases.    The surge in research publications on this domain in the last decade is evident from the recent bibliometric analyses. (Galetsi and Katsaliaki, 2020; Raban and Gordon, 2020)

The “Data Science in Public Health: Challenges and Opportunities” track in the IFIP 9.4 WG Virtual Conference seeks studies, conceptual and theoretical frameworks on data science in public health in terms of the field’s future direction and development. We solicit papers related to data policies, data standards, inter-operability, routine health information systems (RHIS), addressing computational and logistic challenges, the potential of reproducible algorithms, and innovative solutions based on data science in healthcare.

Track main topics

  1. Strengthen routine health information systems and public health surveillance.
  2. Data science approaches in health data, including spatial analysis, time-series analysis, machine learning, deep learning, natural language processing, and artificial intelligence.
  3. Use data science in the prediction and forecasting of health events like COVID-19.
  4. Use of data science for combined analysis of data from health and non-health sectors.
  5. Data science solutions and challenges in EHR/ EMR
  6. Training needs on data science in the health sector and public health.

Track 4

ICT4D & Data Justice

Track Chair:

Soumyo Das, Emlyon Business School


Data justice can be explored as “fairness in the way people are made visible, represented, and treated as a result of their production of data” (Taylor 2017). The datafication of humans and populations and the use of the data is increasingly being prescribed by governments and policymakers worldwide as an important step towards achieving development goals. The use of human data, however, comes with its sets of caveats – for example, of injustices arising out of its use (or misuse), or of improper management. While disciplines like Communication, Human Geography, and Critical Data Studies have widely documented the phenomenon, it has been explored in limited volumes in ICT4D. The track ICT4D x Data Justice is aimed at fostering a forum for ICT4D researchers and practitioners engaging in a range of issues surrounding the use of data for development goals to engage with the framework of data justice, and welcomes papers surrounding the topic.

Track 5

‘Our Digital Lives’ (IFIP 9.5 Track)

Track Chairs:

Petros Chamakiotis, ESCP Business School, Madrid, Spain

Brad McKenna, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK

Kathrin Bednar, Wirtschaftsuniversität Wien, Wien, Austria

As part of the IFIP WG 9.5 ‘Our Digital Lives’ track, we invite submissions of complete or research-in-progress (conceptual or empirical) papers related to any aspects of the interaction between people and technology. Of interest are topics that bring together technology and human nature, new forms of online collaboration, digital tourism, digital health, or digital work through technologies such as social media, augmented reality, virtual reality, artificial intelligence, human enhancement, or other emerging technologies. We have a special interest in multidisciplinary perspectives and are open to any methodological approach.  

Track 6

Digital Social Enterprises & COVID-19: Enablers, Sustainability & Pathways

Track Chairs:

Endrit Kromidha, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK

Vigneswara Ilavarasan, IIT Delhi, Delhi, India

Silvia Masiero, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway

COVID-19 has resulted in altered social and economic spaces in the world. People in the developing world or at the bottom of the pyramid bear the brunt more than the others. The extant gaps in terms of both material and non-material access has widened deeply, despite the efforts from the national governments. It appears that new forms of entrepreneurial ventures are filling these gaps. These enterprises use information and communication technologies (ICTs) extensively to deliver social goods or services for a profit. For instance, SEPAK, a Cambodian e-commerce platform that connects rural artisans and the global market through ethical business practices amplified its efforts to supply of masks to public or Bundle in Bhutan helped in distribution of basic supplies for a nominal fee (UNDP, 2020). We are assuming that similar examples are plenty all over the world and there is a need to study them.  The proposed track fills the gap.

We invite papers on the following themes:

  1. How do digital social enterprises function during the pandemic?
  2. What are enablers and barriers of digital social enterprises in the developing world?
  3. Are digital social enterprises continue to meet developments needs in COVID-19? How?
  4. Are COVID-19 induced modified business models sustainable for the digital social enterprises?
  5. What current changes and innovations could have lasting effects for digital enterprises in developing countries?

Track 7

Feminist and Queer Approaches to Information Systems in Developing Countries

Track Chairs:

Sara Vannini, University of Sheffield, Sheffield, UK

Charmaine Wellington, Independent Researcher, Manchester, UK

Ayushi Tandon, Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, India

Kristin Braa, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway

Silvia Masiero, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many sectors globally to move online: activities related to work, education, and entertainment have drastically increased their digital presence. The stronger reliance on digital practices, while assisting some, has amplified many of the existing historic inequalities generated by the legacy of colonial, racist, classist and sexist societal structures. Combined with the already ongoing processes of democracy erosion, increased disregard for human rights (see, for example, most countries’ politics towards migrants and the Black Lives Matter protests), disinformation campaigns, and attacks to science, increased isolation and digitization are certainly exacerbating the vulnerability of the most marginalized and oppressed in society. Among them, women and the LGBTQIA+ community.

Recent evidence has shown how the pandemic has especially harmful consequences for women and the LGBTQIA+ community. First, gender-based violence has increased during the pandemic (IOM, 2020). Second, women are the most likely to carry the burden of unpaid care work, which has become even more pervasive. Third, given they are more likely to be discriminated against in their professional and personal lives, LGBTQIA+ people have also been found to not having their basic necessities met during the pandemic: they generally have lower-income jobs that do not allow for remote-working, they may be estranged from their family of origins, and they may have trouble accessing gender-affirming healthcare – essential to their health and well-being but often delayed as considered non-essential during the crisis (Katz-Wise, 2020). At the same time, initiatives to help alleviate some of the challenges that communities are facing during these times are likely to be led by women and care workers (IOM, 2020; Malcom and Sawani, 2020).

Studies within the field of Social Implications of Computers in Developing Countriesdo recognize the relevance of fighting inequalities. However, issues of gender herein have been mostly treated as a binary category (man vs women) to be incorporated into pre-existing systems designed within existing patriarchal structures of power (Hentschel et al., 2016; Sultana et al., 2018). There is a pressing need for research that challenges them, including adopting a critical and feminist approach to gender (Sultana et al., 2018; Kumar et al., 2019); proposing perspectives that dismantle existing structures of oppression (hooks, 2014); investigating the design of new, disruptive ICTs/IS by vulnerable groups (Perez, 2019; Webb & Buskens, 2014). We invite papers that tackle these themes through a critical, post-colonial, feminist lens.

Exemplar topics and types of contributions looked-for:

  • Papers employing a feminist/queer theoretical lens to investigate Social Implications of ICTs/IS in the Global South or with underserved/vulnerable populations and their intersections;
  • Information literacy practices in the Global South or with underserved/vulnerable populations and their intersections informed by feminist/queer frameworks;
  • ICTs and human rights responses/practices informed by feminist/queer frameworks;
  • Data privacy and security issues in the Global South or with underserved/vulnerable populations and their intersections informed by feminist/queer frameworks;
  • Implications of ICTs/IS on gender identities in the Global South, and its geographical reach and/or cross-border digital flows;
  • Other papers using Southern Feminism/feminist/queer frameworks applied to Social Implications of Computers in Developing Countries.

References

Hentschel, J., Ahmed, S. I., Hussain, F., Ahmed, N., & Kumar, N. (2017, November). Working with Women in ICTD. In Proceedings of the Ninth International Conference on Information and Communication Technologies and Development (pp. 1-5).

hooks,  bell. (2014). Feminist Theory: From Margin to Center (3 edition). Routledge.

IOM, International Organization for Migration. (2020). COVID-19 Analytical Snapshot: Gender dimensions (No. 25; Understanding the Migration & Mobility Implications of COVID-19). UN Migration. https://www.iom.int/covid19

Katz-Wise, S. L. (2020, April 30). COVID-19 and the LGBTQ+ community: Rising to unique challenges. Harvard Health Blog. https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/covid-19-and-the-lgbtq-community-rising-to-unique-challenges-2020043019721

Kumar, N., Karusala, N., Ismail, A., Wong-Villacres, M., & Vishwanath, A. (2019). Engaging Feminist Solidarity for Comparative Research, Design, and Practice. Proceedings of the ACM on Human-Computer Interaction, 3(CSCW), 1-24.

Malcom, K., Sawani, J. (2020). Racial Disparities in the Time of COVID-19. Michigan University Health Lab. https://labblog.uofmhealth.org/rounds/racial-disparities-time-of-covid-19

Perez, C. C. (2019). Invisible Women: Data Bias in a World Designed for Men (First Printing edition). Harry N. Abrams.

Sultana, S., Guimbretière, F., Sengers, P., & Dell, N. (2018, April). Design within a patriarchal society: Opportunities and challenges in designing for rural women in Bangladesh. In Proceedings of the 2018 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (pp. 1-13).

Webb, D. A., & Buskens, D. I. (Eds.). (2014). Women and ICT in Africa and the Middle East: Changing Selves, Changing Societies. Zed Books.

Track 8

Displacements, ICTs, and #NewNormal

Track Chairs:

Suzana Brown, SUNY Korea, Seoul, South Korea

Faheem Hussain, Arizona State University, USA

Mette Von Deden, Loughborough University, Loughborough, UK

The primary objective of this track is to explore and highlight the innovations and challenges of using ICTs for supporting the displaced population around the world, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, #NewNormal period. Globally, the number of the displaced population is on the rise, with 70 million displaced, internally or externally, people as of 2019. Many of such displacements are forced, due to social, political, and economic conflicts, or to environmental disasters. Nevertheless, the displaced population has become a major humanitarian challenge, transcending local and regional boundaries. In this track, we plan to display the research works intersecting displacements, ICTs and access. Researchers focusing on information access, inclusion, justice, new research methods, grassroots innovations and priorities are welcome to share their works, ideas, and lessons learned in this session. This session is a continuation of our work presented at the IFIP conferences held in Manchester (2020) and Dar es Salaam (2019). We collaborate with researchers interested in using technology to help alleviate displacement issues.

References:

Hussain F. and Karim A., “‘When will you start teaching the REAL curriculum?’- Challenges and Innovations in Education for Rohingya Refugees”, 15th IFIP Conference on Social Implications of Computers in Developing Countries, Tanzania on May 1-3, 2019.

Brown S., Desire P. (2020) Entrepreneurs and ICT Technology in the Dzaleka Refugee Camp. In Bandi R.K., C. R. R., Klein S., Madon S., Monteiro E. (eds) The Future of Digital Work: The Challenge of Inequality. IFIPJWC 2020. IFIP Advances in Information and Communication Technology, vol 601. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-64697-4_5

Brown, S., Wall, P. J., Desire, P., Lewis, D., Hederman, L., & Russell, C. (2020, June). What Enables and Restrains Business Entrepreneurship in Refugee Camps in Malawi? A Search for Technology-Related Causal Mechanisms. In International Conference on Social Implications of Computers in Developing Countries (pp. 183-194). Springer, Cham.

Brown, S., Hussain, F., & Masoumifar, A. M. (2019, May). Refugees and ICTs: Identifying the Key Trends and Gaps in Peer-Reviewed Scholarship. In International Conference on Social Implications of Computers in Developing Countries (pp. 687-697). Springer, Cham.

Track 9

Digital Authoritarianism and Fundamentalism: Problems and Solutions

Track Chairs:

Richard Heeks, Centre for Digital Development, University of Manchester, UK

Devinder Thapa, Department of Information Systems, University of Agder, Norway

P.J. Wall, ADAPT Centre, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland

Rationale:

Digitally-enabled authoritarianism and fundamentalism are on the rise; fuelling inequality, disempowerment, unhappiness and oppression (Hindman 2018, Shahbaz 2018, De-Wit et al 2019, MIT Technology Review 2020):

– Politically, for example, through growing monitoring, harassment and control of citizens by states, and through growth in use of digital tools to undermine democratic structures.

– Socially, for example, through association of social media with polarisation and declining tolerance for opposing views.

– Economically, for example, through growth of digital platforms that exert monopolistic or other forms of control over markets, consumers and/or workers.

At the same time, there are counter-opportunities (Scholz 2016, Strandberg & Grönlund 2018, Woo & Kübler 2020):

– Politically, to circumvent authoritarian regimes and to facilitate democratic structures and processes such as social movements.

– Socially, to create digital spaces for deliberative debate.

– Economically, to support more open and cooperative business models through use of digital.

Our track seeks papers on these topics – both problems but especially examples of positive initiatives – as they emerge alongside the rapid spread of digital technologies in countries of the global South.

References:

De-Wit, L., van der Linden, S. & Brick, C. (2019) Are social media driving political polarization?, Greater Good, 16 Jan

Hindman, M. (2018) The Internet Trap: How the Digital Economy Builds Monopolies and Undermines Democracy. Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ

MIT Technology Review (2020) The Technonationalism Issue, MIT Technology Review, 123(5)

Scholz, T. (2016) Platform Cooperativism: Challenging the Corporate Sharing Economy, Rosa Luxemburg Foundation, New York, NY

Shahbaz, A. (2018) The Rise of Digital Authoritarianism, Freedom House, Washington, DC

Strandberg, K., & Grönlund, K. (2018) Online deliberation, in The Oxford Handbook of Deliberative Democracy (André Bächtiger, John S. Dryzek, Jane Mansbridge, & Mark E. Warren, eds), Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK, 365-377

Woo, S. Y., & Kübler, D. (2020) Taking stock of democratic innovations and their emergence in (unlikely) authoritarian contexts, Politische Vierteljahresschrift, 61(2), 335-355

Track 10

The role of ICT in achieving Social Justice (ICT4SJ)

Track Chairs 

Wallace Chigona, University of Cape Town, South Africa

Hossana Twinomurinzi, University of Johannesburg, South Africa

Track description 

The time has come for Information Systems (IS) researchers to explore the role of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) in achieving Social justice – what we call ICT4SJ. Social Justice is the idea that all people should have equal access to well-being, security, health, wealth, privileges, and opportunities regardless of their gender, race, political ideology, religion or related circumstances. As global crises entrenched in prejudice, gender-based violence (GBV), political conflict, terrorism, cybercrimes and recently COVID 19 pandemic increase, ICTs have proved to be effective in achieving social justice. An example where ICTs have been successful in achieving social justice in South Africa. From racism to GBV to corruption, social media movements have made it possible to influence policy direction. In the global south, more than ever, through social media, ICTs have made it possible for people to be aware of cybercrimes that leave long-lasting damage on one’s digital life.  

There is a need to critically interrogate the unintended consequences of ICT4SJ relating to digital ethics. Thus, despite the good things that ICTs contribute towards social justice, they also have unintended consequences associated with neglecting digital ethics on the platforms. In South Africa, it was observed that while Twitter empowered victims to speak up about their experience, there was a prevalence of victim cyberbullying. On the political end, in nations where internet freedom is not a reality, online activists have been subjected to cyberattacks

The objective of this theme track is to encourage IS researchers to explore theoretical elaborations and conditions under which ICTs can facilitate the achievement of social justice. Furthermore, we invite researchers who can capture the relationship between social justice and digital ethics. This track welcomes scholars from various research approaches that can best explain the phenomenon of interest. 

Topics of interest include, but are not limited to: 

  • Taxonomy of ICT4JS initiatives 
  • Social media movements 
  • Effective technologies for achieving social justice
  • Digital activism during the lockdown 
  • #Hashtags and democratization 
  • GBV and Social media movements 
  • Women cybersecurity culture
  • Politics in the social media era
  • Cybercrimes and GBV 
  • ICTs as a catalyst for social justice
  • Digital ethics and social justice 

Associate editors 

Shallen Lusinga, University of Cape Town

Zainab Ruhwanya, University of Cape Town 

Tendani Thabela-Chimboza, University of Cape Town 

Track 11

Potential and risks of advanced technologies in the Global South

Track Chairs:

  1. Deepak Saxena, Birla Institute of Technology & Science Pilani, India
  2. P. J. Wall, ADAPT Centre, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland
  3. Suzana Brown, SUNY Korea, South Korea

Advanced technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Blockchain, and the Internet of Things (IoT) have changed the way tasks are accomplished in the modern world. Applications like automated vehicles, smart homes and digital assistants no longer belong to science fiction. At the same time, these technologies also offer the potential to resolve many developmental issues in the Global South, for instance, by offering applications such as precision agriculture or telemedicine towards achieving sustainable development goals (SDGs).

However, applications of advanced technology and AI are context dependent, and the outcomes are not necessarily guaranteed to be the same for all societies and cultural groups. For instance, facial recognition AI that are trained using Western subjects may not so efficient in recognizing non-white subjects. Such inherent bias is often inbuilt in AI. Moreover, societies and cultures in the Global South are often marked by the relative absence of regulatory frameworks (such as The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). This, coupled with lax application of any regulatory framework that do exist, runs the risk of using advanced technologies and AI in ways not intended by its proponents. For instance, the AI-enabled social credit system currently being used in China is criticized for invasion of privacy and its potential for misuse in the future. Incorrect application of such advanced technological systems may result in a new digital divide in the Global South between those using advanced technologies as they were designed to be used and those using such technologies for nefarious purposes.

This track invites papers on the potential and risks of advanced technologies and AI in the Global South. Suggested topics include (but not limited to):

  • Advanced technologies for economic progress
  • Advanced technologies for achieving the SDGs
  • Advanced technologies for public health
  • Racial, gender and other socio-economic inequalities in the design and application of AI in the Global South
  • Privacy and data protection risks in the Global South
  • Algorithmic governance and associated risks
  • Nefarious use of advanced technologies and AI by hackers, terrorists and national governments

Track 12:

Digitalization for Indigenous Emancipation

Track co-chairs

Description

The information systems (IS) discipline has empowered individuals, organisations and societies to navigate the complex waves of technological advancements (Qureshi, 2015). Despite this positive contribution, little is still understood regarding the ICT-driven innovations and the experiences of people who remain at the margins of ICT development discourses (Joia, Davison, Diaz Andrade, Urquhart, & Kah, 2011). Marginalised communities all over the world continue to experience and innovate with digital technologies to preserve their traditional, cultures and ways of being for future generations as well as to access pathways towards economic and social emancipation (Young, 2018). The paucity of Indigenous methods and theorization particularly in the IS literature limits opportunities for the IS field to offer better explanations of behaviour at the local or indigenous level as well as the ability to offer new explanations of behaviour globally (Davison & Andrade, 2018). This track invites decolonial perspectives to showcase Indigenous approaches, using Indigenous theories and methods, to highlight how Indigenous communities, use and experience digital technology to overcome marginalization and restore their Indigenous identity.

CFP:

We invite research at all levels (individual, organizational, societal) that explores the role of digital technology in Indigenous contexts. Possible areas of interest include (but are not limited to):

  1. Indigenous research methods
  2. Indigenous knowledge systems
  3. Indigenous cultures
  4. Indigenous identities
  5. Indigenous social movements
  6. Application of Indigenous methods and theories (e.g., Kaupapa Māori Theory)
  7. Application of Indigenous philosophies (e.g., Ubuntu)

PhD students and early career researchers are particularly encouraged to participate in this track.

References

Davison, R. M., & Díaz Andrade, A. (2018). Promoting indigenous Theory. Information Systems Journal, 28(5), 759-764.

Joia, L. A., Davison, R., Diaz Andrade, A., Urquhart, C., & Kah, M. (2011). Self-Marginalized or uninvited? The absence of indigenous researchers in the arena of globalized ICT4D research. (December 6, 2011). ICIS 2011 Proceedings. Paper 8. http://aisel.aisnet.org/icis2011/proceedings/panels/8

Qureshi, S. (2015). Are we making a Better World with Information and Communication Technology for Development (ICT4D) Research? Findings from the Field and Theory Building. Information Technology for Development, 21(4), 511-522.

Young, A. G. (2018). Using ICT for social good: Cultural identity restoration through emancipatory pedagogy. Information Systems Journal, 28(2), 340-358.

Track 13

Media Analysis and Studies

Track Chair: Dipanjan Chakraborty

The media landscape is undergoing massive change in terms of content, consumption patterns, revenue models, ownership, etc. TV media now has to compete for viewership with social media. And, viewership is governed by algorithms optimised for users spending more time on the platform. This often leads to very polarising and hyperbolic content getting more exposure to audiences. This track invites research on analysis of how the change in media is affecting people, democracy and governance.

Track 14

General Track

Track Chairs:

Petter Nielsen, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway

Johan Sæbø, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway

Terje Aksel Sanner, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway

This track invites papers addressing the implications of information and digital technologies for development. As a general track, we are interested in and open for papers on any relevant topic. We are looking for empirical, conceptual, theoretical, and practice oriented papers. We expect papers to address concrete and contemporary development challenges and opportunities and the role of digital technologies in these. This implies an emphasis on salient features of the context and the features of digital technologies, and the intimate relationship between technology and context.

We are looking for empirical, conceptual, theoretical, and practice oriented papers. We expect papers to address concrete and contemporary development challenges and opportunities and the role of digital technologies in these. This implies an emphasis on salient features of the context and the features of digital technologies, and the intimate relationship between technology and context.

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