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Design and the Future of Work

February 19, 2018
12:00-2:00pm CST
IIT Institute of Design
565 West Adams Street 7th floor
Chicago, IL 60661

From self-driving cars to automated warehouses, many technologists, business leaders and government officials are warning that automation will be used to replace human labor on a wide scale including both factory work and knowledge work and, even, possibly in the field of design. This panel will consider the validity of these arguments as well as critiques from global, ethical and historical perspectives related to the future of work. This challenge may require the redesign of all aspects of society including social services, leisure time, mobility patterns etc. How might design be used to intervene in the shaping of these future technologies and their social implications? How might design insure that we create more just and equitable futures for all?

About the panelists

Hamid Ekbia
Hamid Ekbia is Professor of Informatics, International Studies, and Cognitive Science, at Indiana University, Bloomington, where he also directs the Center for Research on Mediated Interaction. He is interested in the political economy of computing and in how technologies mediate cultural, socio-economic, and geo-political relations of modern societies. His most recent book, Heteromation and Other Stories of Computing and Capitalism (MIT Press, 2017) examines computer-mediated modes of value extraction in capitalist economies, and his earlier book Artificial Dreams: The Quest for Non-Biological Intelligence (Cambridge University Press, 2008) was a critical-technical analysis of Artificial Intelligence. He is the co-editor of a volume titled Big Data Is Not a Monolith (MIT Press, 2016). In 2018, Dr. Ekbia will be the Otto Mønsted Visiting Professor in the Department of Digitalization at Copenhagen Business School, and in 2016, he was a Senior Fellow at Internationales Forschungszentrum Kulturwissenschaften (IFK) in Vienna, Austria.

Winifred Poster
Winifred R. Poster is a sociologist with a PhD from Stanford University.  She teaches in International Affairs at Washington University, St. Louis, with visiting positions at universities in India, Sweden, Germany, and Canada.  Her interests are in digital globalization, feminist labor theory, and Indian outsourcing.  Under several grants from the National Science Foundation, she has been following information and communication technology jobs from the US to India, both in earlier waves of computer manufacturing and software, and later waves of back-office data processing and call centers.  Current projects explore the labors of surveillance, crowdsourcing, cybersecurity, automation and artificial intelligence.  Her latest books are Invisible Labor with Marion Crain and Miriam Cherry (UC Press), and Borders in Service with Kiran Mirchandani (University of Toronto Press).

José Oliva
Jose Oliva is from Xelaju, Guatemala. Jose founded the Chicago Interfaith Workers’ Center in 2001 and then became the Coordinator of Interfaith Worker Justice’s National Workers’ Centers Network. In 2008 he went on to run the Center for Community Change’s worker justice program. Jose held several leadership positions at the Restaurant Opportunities Centers United the national organization of restaurant workers. He is currently the Co-Director of the Food Chain Workers Alliance, a national coalition of food worker organization that represents over 250,000 workers.