Technology Justice

“A world in which everyone has access to technologies that are essential to life, and technology innovation is centred on solving the great challenges the world faces today: ending poverty and providing a sustainable future for all.”

 
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Technology Justice: A call to action

Technology is at the heart of human development. It enables people to produce food, access water and energy, and keep in good health. But access to technology and its benefits are not fairly shared....

 
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Technology and the Future of Work

Through a year-long project, Practical Action and WIEGO have explored the technologies, cities, work and systems that influence the disruptive impact of technologies on informal workers. The...

 
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Introducing Technology Justice: A new paradigm for the SDGs

As national governments, development actors, and businesses negotiate, commit to, and begin to implement Sustainable Development Goals for the next 15 years, Practical Action makes the case for...

 

Agenda for Change

Practical Action believes that the goal of development should be to create sustainable wellbeing for all, and that the way in which technology is accessed, innovated and used is critical to our ability to achieve this. That is why the concept of Technology Justice underpins our entire change agenda. Our influencing is driven by three existing and interconnected injustices:

technology tuin
A Tuin in Nepal increases access to essential
services

Technologies exist with the potential to ensure wellbeing for all people on the planet, but these technologies are not available to those that need them most.

Technological research and innovation is far more likely to be focused on enhancing the lifestyles of wealthy consumers in developed and developing countries, than on meeting the needs of those living in poverty.

The way in which technology is produced and used, often fails to take into account the social and environmental costs on other people and the environment, now and in the future.

Achieving Technology Justice

Overcoming these technology injustices demands a radical shift in how technology is governed. We want innovators, investors, technology users and policy makers, among others, to be guided by the principle of Technology Justice, so that:

  • All people are able to access the technology that they need for wellbeing without compromising the environment or harming other people. 
  • Technology research and innovation efforts are refocused on meeting humanity’s basic needs, increasing wellbeing and protecting the planet.
  • Technology is used in a way that does not harm others, future generations, or the planet.

To do this we will:

    • Push for Technology Justice through convening debates and discussion on international development and technology, including the Forum for Technology Justice
    • Challenge individuals, organisations and governments to consider Technology Justice in their decision-making and technology use. We will seek allies across the world to join our movement for Technology Justice. 
    • Lobby Government and donors to make more public investment, and incentivise private investment, in providing poor people with knowledge services and access to technologies that are fundamental to achieving basic material well-being.

Rethink Retool Reboot book coverRethink, Retool, Reboot

In this powerful new book, Simon Trace (Practical Action CEO 2005-2015) builds on Practical Action’s work to look at technology from both a human development and environmental perspective, and provide an analysis of global relevance. It addresses the issue of access to technology and problems arising from its unregulated use. It advocates changing how innovation systems deliver technology so that it addresses poverty and environmental sustainability, drawing on examples from food, energy, water and health. We urgently need to use Technology Justice to:

  • rethink how we provide access to and govern the use technology today,
  • retool – to change our innovation systems to deliver technology that is socially useful and addresses the key challenges of poverty and environmental sustainability,
  • reboot our relationship with technology - we need Technology Justice to provide a radically different approach to our oversight and governance of technology use

Flagship Projects

Podcasting in Zimbabwe

Podcasting in Zimbabwe

Technology to improve livelihoods
#TechJustice in Action

#TechJustice in Action

Educating for technology justice
Technology and the Future of Work

Technology and the Future
of Work

 

Technology Justice blog posts

  • Natural Capital the basis for effective flood protection?
    The year has been marked by a number of unusual climate events. Not only was 2015 the hottest year on record[1], with 2016 appearing on track to exceed this[2], but the year has also been unusually wet. In the US state of Louisiana, 13 people died and large areas are still struggling to cope when a “no-name storm” dumped three times as much rain on Louisiana as Hurricane Katrina[3]. This disaster manifested despite the US having the largest global disaster […]
  • Can you trust technology to provide protection from flooding?
    Practical Action has been working with a number of different partners in the Zurich Flood Resilience Alliance[1] to explore the factors that build the resilience of communities in developing countries to the threat of floods. One of the features of flood prone communities is the fact that these communities are often fully aware of the risk, but some economic or social benefit leads to them discounting the risk to live in the at risk location. We are now entering the […]
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