The Guardian’s Activate Summit, NYC: Changing the world through technology

The Guardian newspaper is hosting a one-day summit in New York City to explore how with “technology and the internet, we can make the world a better place.” It’s called Activate.

No doubt this raises a number of questions (eg is technology making the world a better place; is it making it a better place in only some ways and for some people, foreclosing other possibilities; and have we frankly gone down the wrong path with some technologies?) but putting those aside as the fears of a typical academic wet blanket, it’s worth noting the topics included.

I was especially interested to see Evgeny Morozov is listed as speaking on geopolitics. He’s currently a visiting scholar at Stanford and author of The Net Delusion: The Dark Side of Internet Freedom. Morozov was prominent for his blogging about the Tahrir Square protests in Egypt and has written more widely on his doubts about technology effecting social change.

But I wonder why there aren’t more social scientists on the agenda? Is it that we aren’t thought of as working for social change, only for understanding and explaining it? That we’re not activists?

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