Critical Tech Talk

talking hands and laptoop computer

Welcome to Critical Tech Talk, a series of honest dialogues about technological innovation.

Assembling a diverse group of stakeholders — including both developers and end-users — the series is designed to promote an ethos of responsible innovation in the local tech ecology and beyond. Each of the university’s six faculties will co-host a techno-critical speaker and invite Waterloo students and local tech sector members to participate in an on-stage dialogue and lead a post-event discussion online. 

Critical Tech Talk is produced by the Critical Media Lab at the University of Waterloo. The series is sponsored by Communitech, the Office of Research, and faculties of Arts, Environment, Engineering, Health, Math, and Science at the University of Waterloo.


Critical Tech Talk 1: Nicole Aschoff – The digital frontier and its limits

Monday, November 8, 2021, 5 PM | Theatre of the Arts, University of Waterloo, in-person and livestreamed | REGISTER 

Silicon Valley companies have brought digital technology into every sphere of modern life. But while Big Tech garners unprecedented power and profits, everyday existence becomes ever more deeply enmeshed in the circuits of capital. To what end? What are the limits of the digital frontier?

About the speaker

Nicole AschoffNicole Aschoff is an editor, writer and public sociologist focused on technology, labour, politics, feminism, the economy, and the environment. Her recent book is The Smartphone Society: Technology, Power, and Resistance in the New Gilded Age. She examines the complex ways that people, institutions, and big systems, intersect to forge the society we live in. Aschoff holds a PhD in sociology from Johns Hopkins University and currently works as a senior editor with Verso Books. Read more: nicoleaschoff.com

 

Moderator

Professor Marcel O'Gorman, University Research Chair, professor of English, and founding director of the Critical Media Lab (CML), University of Waterloo. Professor O'Gorman leads collaborative design projects and teaches courses and workshops in the philosophy of technology at the CML, which is located at the Communitech Hub. The role of the CML is to disseminate a philosophy of "tech for good."

Student respondents

Neha Revella (she/they), MA Experimental Digital Media, Department of English, University of Waterloo. Neha is currently working as a research and project manager at Mozilla.

Nolan Dey (he/him), BASc Systems Design Engineering, University of Waterloo. Nolan is currently working as an AI ressearch scientist for Cerebras Systems.


Nicole Aschoff’s most recent book, The Smartphone Society, is available at the W Store and at Words Worth Books. Please support your local bookseller.