New technology often gets talked about as a neutral object. But technology has politics. It's designed and used by humans. And humans have priorities and beliefs and blinders.
This week on Spark we're look at how technology can be used to both liberate and empower.
We're going to start with the civil rights movement in the United States.
Charlton McIlwain is the author of Black Software: The Internet and racial justice, from the AfroNet to Black Lives Matter.
He explains to Nora how the development of computing technology was used to suppress African Americans during the civil rights movement, and beyond.
But he also describes how, as a community, Black people were able to harness technology and bring issues of systemic racial injustice to national and international attention following the fatal police shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.
In the second half of the show, we look at tech innovation beyond the boundaries of Silicon Valley and the broader Global North.
Ramesh Srinivasan, the author of Beyond the Valley: How Innovators around the World are Overcoming Inequality and Creating the Technologies of Tomorrow, talks to Nora about several projects in Africa and South Asia where innovators, often working with discarded materials, are creating inspiring technology—in defiance of the large corporations in the U.S. and China.