As students finish their last exams and assignments, and head home for the holidays, our Centre quiets. In the last days and weeks of this year (and this decade), we have been reflecting on exciting developments in the world of PeaceTech here at the Kindred Credit Union Centre for Peace Advancement during 2019.

Branka Marijan at True North 2019Project Ploughshares Senior Researcher Branka Marijan was a featured speaker at the True North conference, our Centre helped Conrad Grebel University College launch the first PeaceTech Living-Learning Community, AccessMate, a GIS-based venture for accessible cities, joined our Epp Peace Incubator, and our Director Paul Heidebrecht helped the Waterloo Council for Responsible Innovation and Technology organize its first summit, to name a few.

Science for the People logo and drawingIn light of these developments, events, and exposure, the PeaceTech community housed in our corner of campus has had countless opportunities to engage with and think critically about emerging technologies. Our most recent blog post by PeaceTech Peer Leader Hannah Bernstein highlights exactly the type of engagement we are encouraged to see emerging from this community.  

And while the holidays tend to be a time of rest and relaxation when we can pause from our preoccupation with pressing issues, this two-week break also provides the opportunity for reflection on the state of technology in our world. Here are a few links to check out:

  • CBC Ideas’ coverage of the 4th Waterloo Symposium on Technology and Society keynote speech by Douglas Rushkoff. Rushkoff, a digital media theorist and author, has warned of the commodity-style tech economy for decades. His most recent book, Team Human, argues that technology has turned humans into commodities. Only by reordering our understanding of the role of technology will we be able to liberate the human race from technology’s grip.  
  • A recent UW Imprint article that takes critical look at the unique leverage co-op students from UWaterloo may find themselves holding in future recruiting cycles. Critiquing the role of tech contractors in aiding illegal and immoral immigration practices in the United States, former Engineering and Peace student Derin Denizkusu calls on UWaterloo students to protest working for those very same companies. As we have noted on this blog before, UWaterloo students have the responsibility to be aware of the impact of their work when recruited by large technological giants.
  • Finally, enjoy this poetic reflection from another former Engineering and Peace student, Sophie Rahn. Sophie’s article, also published in UW Imprint, challenges and inspires both engineers and non-engineers to take on the responsibility of not just building the world of the future, but building the peaceful world of the future.

Happy holidays and best wishes for 2020!