From the social unity of Ubuntu to the socially ingrained dispositions of habitus, our authors helped us to perceive the value of intentionally weaving together threads of history to shape the present and future social fabric of humanity.
Stefan Höhne dives into a wealth of letters—correspondence sent to the New York City Transit Authority in the period 1955–1968.
In Data Feminism, authors Catherine D’Ignazio and Lauren F. Klein do not merely deal with data. They pair data with feminism. Here, feminism is deployed as a “shorthand for the diverse and wide-ranging projects that name and challenge sexism and other forces of oppression, as well as those which seek to create more just, equitable, and livable futures.”
Good Pictures is about the advice given to photographers—mostly amateurs—on the techniques they should use to improve their work. Of course, the advice is intimately tied to technological developments in photography as well as the desire of camera makers to sell new products.
We would act wisely if we turn to alternative ways of thinking, other wisdom traditions, and learn from them. Ubuntu philosophy can help to draw attention to social issues, for example, the horrors of colonialism, exclusion, and oppression, and to find ways to promote social justice. Aboriginal wisdom can help to apply diverse ways of knowing, for example, knowledge that is related to place, to kinship, to stories, to patterns—not only knowledge in books. The Indigenous cultures and wisdom of the Americas can teach us how to organize economic and political systems more sustainably and to develop more caring relationships with nature. And Confucian culture and wisdom can help to design and apply technologies in ways that support us as relational and developmental beings.
While it is true that technology is addressing problems and making elements of some people’s lives easier, there are aggregate measures that suggest a troubling trajectory.
How can local (grassroots) contributive justice be used as a driving force for the common good?
The IEEE Society on Social Implications of Technology (SSIT) has had many volunteers step into leadership positions for purposefully limited terms over the past half-century. We address the challenges and opportunities of our day and then move on, unlike some world leaders who cannot bear to fade away.
In this time of massive growth in the scale and scope of technological innovations, it is more important than ever to look critically at the nature of these innovations and to challenge a naïve, techno-utopian attitude that innovation is synonymous with progress.