Cambridge (en anglais)
10 septembre 2021

Lancement de l'Institut Edgelands

Jamie Guterman

"Comment les technologies de surveillance numérique modifient-elles les contrats sociaux dans les environnements urbains et que peuvent faire les gens et les villes à ce sujet ? Telle est la question posée par Yves Daccord, président exécutif et cofondateur, lors du lancement officiel de l'Institut Edgelands le 9 avril et du second lancement organisé à l'heure de l'Asie centrale le 26 avril.

A screenshot of texts and questions that together form a skyline of a city.

Art by Sarah Newman, Kim Albrecht and Beatriz Botero Arcila. (Click HERE for the living photo design)

"How are digital surveillance technologies changing the social contracts in urban settings and what can people and cities do about it?". This was the question posed by Yves Daccord, Executive Chairman and Co-Founder, at the Edgelands Institute official soft launch on April 9th and second launch hosted in Central Asian Time on April 26th. The launches, both hour-long interactive events, communicated the mission of Edgelands: to reimagine our urban social contracts to be more people-oriented in a digital age complicated by surveillance technology and its acceleration due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The launches featured Edgelands’ coordinators, scholars, and experts in the fields of ethical technology, human rights, law, business, and design (scroll down for the full list of speakers). The launch opened with Charlotte McClain-Nhlapo, Chair of the Global Advisory Board at Edgelands and Global Disability Advisor at the World Bank. McClain-Nhlapo's experience working with inclusion led her to question what our social contracts should look like and how we can rethink them, especially in cities, and these questions are right at the core of what Edgelands is addressing. 

Both launches also incorporated a panel of guest speakers who used their broad perspectives and expertise to talk about digital surveillance issues. Notable speakers included Elizabeth Adams, Co-founder of Public Oversight of Technology in Minneapolis (POSTME) and Fellow at the Digital Civil Society Lab and Center for Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity at Stanford. With a background in cybersecurity, Adams switched gears to work towards making technology more equitable for all in her community when she learned about the depths of algorithmic bias. Executive Director of the Digital Asia Hub Malavika Jayaram also used her vast experiences as a lawyer and technologist to pose questions about the kinds of voices left out of conversations surrounding our social contract and digital surveillance. Jayaram expressed concern about the slippery slope of surveillance, including how during mega-events, for example, the Olympics, people allow their social contracts to be changed in exchange for perceived benefits. Marginalized communities, however, often don't get a seat at the table when it comes to these decisions and discussions about our digital future and social contract. Elisabeth Sylvan, Managing Director of the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society (where Edgelands is currently incubated), echoed this point when she emphasized collaboration between communities and finding common ground on digital transformation and surveillance. 

Puis, la collaboration étant au cœur de la mission d'Edgelands, des questions ont été posées aux membres du public tout au long des événements afin de sonder leurs points de vue sur la sécurité des espaces physiques et numériques, sur l'avenir des villes et les répercussions du développement technologique. Sarah Newman, directrice des arts et de l'éducation au MetaLAB de Harvard et membre du Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society, a demandé aux participants de partager leurs interrogations à l'égard de l'avenir urbain et son ancrage numérique. En même temps, elle a montré le travail d'artistes, comme JR et Ge Wang, qui inspire et accompagne le changement social. Les réponses ont été recueillies auprès des quelques 200 membres du public puis combinées à la fin de l'inauguration pour créer une œuvre d'art numérique. Ceci rejoint l'objectif d'Edgelands: utiliser le pouvoir du design pour connecter les gens et favoriser le dialogue autour de l'urbanisation et de la technologie. En ce sens, il était tout à fait approprié de fusionner les réponses du public afin de poser la première pierre de notre projet. Voici quelques-unes de leurs réponses :

How do we make cities safe for everyone? 

Quelle devrait-être la relation entre les identités virtuelles et physiques ? 

Comment l'Institut Edgelands peut-il contribuer à placer la bienveillance au cœur d'une vie urbaine en mutation ? 

Parviendrons-nous à faire des villes des espaces verts et durables ?

Full List of Speakers: 

Charlotte McClain-Nhlapo, Chair of the Global Advisory Board at Edgelands & Global Disability Advisor at the World Bank 

Sarah Newman, Director of Art and Education at Harvard’s MetaLAB & Fellow at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society 

Yves Daccord, Executive Chairman and Co-Founder of the Edgelands Institute & Former Director-General of the International Committee of the Red Cross 

Rhea Jiang, Edgelands Research Associate & Student at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design

Santiago Uribe, Researcher at the Nordic Center for Internet and Society

Jess Valenzuela Ramirez, 1L at Harvard Law School 

Danil Kerimi, COO and Co-Founder at Edgelands 

Beatriz Botero Arcila, directrice de recherche à Edgelands, cofondatrice de l'institut, et membre du Centre Berkman Klein pour l'internet et la société .

Angelo Kaufmann, Research Associate at Edgelands & Business Student at the University of St. Gallen 

Panel Members: Exploring Digital Surveillance Issues:

Elisabeth Sylvan, Managing Director of the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society at Harvard 

Aleksander Stojanovic, Entrepreneur, Executive, and Expert in Innovation and Regulated Markets 

Elizabeth Adams, Co-founder of Public Oversight of Technology in Minneapolis (POSTME) & Fellow at the Digital Civil Society Lab and Center for Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity at Stanford 

Malavika Jayaram, Executive Director of Digital Asia Hub & Faculty at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society 

Adrian Liew, Founder of OPPi

If you missed the Edgelands’ Launch head to our Youtube page to watch the events in full: American Launch & Asian Central Time Launch