For decades, largely agrarian, previously colonial, developing countries were the recipients of technologies, in domains ranging from medicine to transportation. The technologies also came embedded in specific ideas about social organisation and governance mechanisms, such as bureaucratic or market rationality. Lately, there is evidence of changes to the direction of flow as developing countries have become adept late-industrialisers who produce technology. There are also “emerging markets” that are significant consumers, even if an estimated 4 billion people in these markets are socio-economically underprivileged. This talk focuses on how and why serving this population demands insights into the development of novel technologies, especially contemporary information and communication technologies, and their relevance even for developed markets. It touched on the implications of the efforts to incorporate the underprivileged, into the technological and economic mainstream, for new norms and forms of governance by drawing on research in India.
About the Lecturer:
Balaji Parthasarathy is ICICI Professor at the International Institute of Information Technology, Bangalore. Balaji's research and teaching interests broadly focus on the relationship between technological innovation, economic globalization, and social change. Within this broad focus, his work follows two threads. One thread examines the impact of public policy and firm strategies on the international division of labour and the organisation of production in the ICT (information and communications technology) industry. Another thread deals with ICTs for Development, or ICTD. Here his interests lie in understanding how the design and deployment of ICTs, in various domains of activity, such as governance, are being used to transform social relationships, especially in underprivileged contexts. Balaji holds a bachelor's degree from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur, and a PhD from the University of California, Berkeley.