The Weekly Stripe – 06.11.20
A whole host of technology-orientated companies and design practices are increasingly focused on inserting themselves into the lives of people around the world. Yet the process of entering a new and different place can often be jarring as it forces a reconsideration of our basic assumptions towards design, habituated habits and how we consider the relationship of humans to technology. This week we explore how mainstream technology and design practice contain tacit historical and westernised assumptions that are ill-equip for the rest of the world.
In this talk digital anthropologist Payal Arora discusses her new book “The Next Billion Users: Digital Life Beyond the West”. Arora provides an array of ethnographic evidence on internet usage to demonstrate how digital technologies, such as mobile phones and the internet, are used in ways that contradict and challenge mainstream historical understandings of human-technological relations.
Is the internet white? This article offers an important look into how the internet is demographically constituted. It provides insight into how information and resources, such as Google and Wikipedia, are products of North America and North-Western Europe and create a distorted lens through which to understand the world.
99% Invisible explores the limitations encountered through Google’s “Next Billion Users” initiative. This episode gives insights into how everyday user design, “ordinary” behaviours and the idea of digitisation as a global solution are based on pre-conceived assumptions that are often discordant with local contexts.
UX design and programming has been, until recently, un-interrogated with a critical lens. Can an American IT system integrate smoothly anywhere else in the world? This article forces design and programming disciplines to question the pre-conceived assumptions structuring their worldviews, and in turn, their designs, applications and products.
What and who constitutes a “city”? In this interview, anthropologist Nikhil Anand discusses his paper “Pressure: The Politechnics of Water Supply in Mumbai” and gives valuable insight into how, in post-colonial Mumbai, the western liberal design of “state”, “infrastructure” and “citizenship” distort the lived reality of inhabitants.