Don’t believe the hype: Who authors our futures?

A chain of technological developments set into motion by chemist and physicist Gordon Moore more than 45 years ago is still resonating in technological choices being made today, says Justin Pickard, a STEPS Centre PhD student, in a blogpost for The Guardian published today.

Justin, who is researching the relationship between uncertainty, infrastructure and grassroots innovation and working on our Uncertainty From Below and Above project, asserts that we should investigate whose version of progress is being promoted as the way forward, and why.

“As with all considerations of hype, progress, and the shepherding of technological investment, it is important to ask questions about who is authoring these expectations, whose interests are served, the applications unfolding behind closed doors, and the alternative pathways haemorrhaging support and investment to the IPO of the newest iteration of the status quo.”

How alternative pathways of innovation can be recognised, emphasised and elevated – particularly those fashioned by the marginalised to alleviate poverty and increase social justice – are the chief concerns of our work here at the STEPS Centre.

One of Justin’s PhD supervisors, STEPS Centre co-director Professor Andy Stirling, has written extensively about the direction, distribution and diversity of innovation, or the ‘3Ds’. One good place to start discovering more about this body of work, would be Andy’s paper for the New Manifesto project, Direction, Distribution and Diversity! Pluralising Progress in Innovation, Sustainability and Development.