Wed 10 Apr
Seminars and Conferences

Insolvent. How to Reorient Computing for Just Sustainability

The deep entanglement of information technology with our societies has raised hope for a transition to more sustainable and just communities - those that phase out fossil fuels, distribute public goods fairly, allow free access to information, and waste less. In principle, computing should be able to help. But in practice, we live in a world in which opaque algorithms steer us toward misinformation and unsustainable consumerism.
Insolvent shows why computing's dominant frame of thinking is conceptually insufficient to address our current challenges, and why computing continues to incur societal debts it cannot pay back.
Christoph Becker shows how we can reorient design perspectives in computer science to better align with the values of sustainability and justice.
Becker positions the role of information technology and computing in environmental sustainability, social justice, and the intersection of the two, and explains why designing IT for just sustainability is both technically and ethically challenging.
Becker goes on to argue that computing could be aided by critical friends - disciplines that draw on critical social theory, feminist thought, and systems thinking - to make better sense of its role in society.
Finally, Becker demonstrates that it is possible to fuse critical perspectives with work in computer science, showing new and fruitful directions for computing professionals and researchers to pursue.

Speaker: Christoph Becker, University of Toronto

Christoph Becker is a Professor of Information, lead of the Just Sustainability Design lab, and Director of the Digital Curation Institute at the University of Toronto. His research focuses on the design of just and sustainable information and software systems, judgment and decision-making in systems design, social responsibility in computing, and digital curation.
Becker is one of the co-founders of the Karlskrona Manifesto for Sustainability Design. His book Insolvent: How to Reorient Computing for Just Sustainability, published Open Access at MIT Press in 2023, is a finalist in Engineering and Technology for the AAP PROSE Awards.

The meeting will be held IN PRESENCE at Centro Nexa su Internet e Società (click here for more information on how to reach the place) and ONLINE at this link.