Geek Heresy: Is Technology Bad for Development?

  • DATE / TIME:
    2015•06•18    13:00 - 14:30
    New York

    On 18 June 2015, the United Nations University will host a lunchtime policy forum to launch the new book Geek Heresy: Rescuing Social Change from the Cult of Technology (PublicAffairs, 2015) by Kentaro Toyama. Computer scientist Kentaro Toyama is a former Microsoft researcher who co-founded the Microsoft India research laboratory. After a decade designing technologies that address education, health, and global poverty, Prof. Toyama joined the University of Michigan School of Information as W.K. Kellogg Associate Professor of Community Information.

    In the context of calls for a data revolution in the Post-2015 Development Agenda discussions, this event aims at unpacking some of the risks associated with technology as well as the opportunities that innovation can offer for sustainable development. In his new book, Prof. Toyama analyses the role of technology in society and how it affects attempts to address the world’s global challenges such as poverty and inequality. Geek Heresy describes some of the contradictions around the use of technology in today’s world and questions whether technology can cause positive change.

    About the Policy Forum

    Professor Toyama will present his findings, followed by responses from senior experts and stakeholders. The panel will consider how to ensure that the use of technology does not replace the central role of people for positive social change and sustainable development.

    Speakers will include:

    Prof. Kentaro Toyama, W.K. Kellogg Associate Professor of Community Information at the University of Michigan School of Information

    Mr. Robert Kirkpatrick, Director of United Nations Global Pulse


    Advance registration (by 15 June) is suggested. Please note, however, that space is limited and the event may not be able to accommodate everyone who wishes to attend. Participants needing a UN grounds pass can pick it up upon entry to the event at the UN visitor’s entrance on 45th street and 1st Avenue starting at 12:45 pm. Should you need a UN grounds pass, please register at least one week prior to the event to guarantee entry.

    Please click on the register button above to access the online registration page



    United Nations Headquarters
    Conference Room 7