Geek Heresy: Rescuing Social Change from the Cult of Technology

Geek Heresy: Rescuing Social Change from the Cult of Technology

Thursday, November 5, 2015
4:30 PM - 6:00 PM

Wallenberg Theatre

450 Serra Mall #124

(The room is located in the main quad, across the road from Stanford Oval.)

kentaro geek heresy

Over the last four decades, the United States saw an explosion of digital technologies that penetrated every corner of the country, yet during the same time span, the American rate of poverty did not decrease and inequality skyrocketed. In other words, a golden age of innovation did not lead to better lives for poor people living in the world's most technologically advanced country. This simple fact,  which flies in the face of Silicon Valley triumphalism, should give pause to foreign aid and international development efforts whose primary goal is to increase technology and its use.


Kentaro Toyama is W.K. Kellogg Associate Professor at the University of Michigan School of Information and a fellow of the Dalai Lama Center for Ethics and Transformative Values at MIT. Until 2009, Toyama was assistant managing director of Microsoft Research India, which he co-founded in 2005. At MSR India, he started the Technology for Emerging Markets research group, which conducts interdisciplinary research to understand how the world's poorest communities interact with electronic technology and to invent new ways for technology to support their socio-economic development. Prior to his time in India, Toyama did computer vision and machine learning research and taught mathematics at Ashesi University in Accra, Ghana. Toyama graduated from Yale with a PhD in Computer Science and from Harvard with a bachelor's degree in Physics.