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Events


2017

08 Jun
Cities in the Hands of Global Finance, by Raquel Rolnik

Cities and territories of the world are increasingly colonized by the empire of global finance. The lecture will focus on the impacts and paths of the taken over of urban policy by finance, in which technologies, including big data and the concept of smart cities, have a central role. The effects are not only economic and cultural. Shaping new spaces and new ways of living in them define a post political era in each there is no room for dissention and heterogeneity.

25 May
Innovation Policy and National Security, by Linda Weiss

The talk is based on the argument of Linda Weiss’ book, America Inc? Innovation and Enterprise in the National Security State (Cornell University Press). Since WWII, the United States has created the most formidable innovation engine the world has ever seen and, although difficult to quantify, its benefits for the commercial economy have been enormous. America’s rise as the world’s high-tech hegemon is not a free market story, nor is it an industrial policy tale. Rather, it is the product of a national security state (NSS) that has pursued technological supremacy as a strategic imperative essential to sustaining U.S. power - increasingly by directly promoting commercial innovation in order to ensure collaboration from its most advanced suppliers. This NSS creation, however, is now threatened by financialisation of the U.S. economy, manifested in the growing disconnect between innovation and production and dwindling private investment in productive assets. To this extent, the main threat to U.S. preeminence would appear to come not from a rising power such as China, but from within.

27 Apr
The State and Innovation: Socialising Both Risks and Rewards, by Mariana Mazzucato

Building on her book The Entrepreneurial State: debunking private vs. public sector myths, Mariana Mazzucato’s talk will focus on the public sector investments that led to the Silicon Valley growth model. She will argue that the limited narrative of the state’s role in innovation—in the media, in policy and in economic theory— as only ‘fixing markets’ rather than co-creating and shaping them, has justified risks to be socialised while profits are privatised. It is this, not the “robots", that are leading to the problematic relationship between innovation and inequality. The talk will end by considering the concrete implications of a more collective understanding of wealth creation, and new ways to rethink public private contracts that lead to more inclusive growth.

23 Feb
Brian Eno and Evgeny Morozov - A Conversation About Technology and Democracy

In this wide-ranging conversation, Brian Eno and Evgeny Morozov will draw on a number of recent high-profile political events, from Brexit to the election of Donald Trump, to discuss the future of capitalism, democracy, and the role of technology in both. Is the post-WWII geopolitical and economic order dying and, if so, where should progressive, democratic forces focus their energies? How can we make sense of the growing rejection of models and slogans that were taken for granted for so long? Do we need a new kind of politics to match this challenge, and, if so, what should it look like? As data extractivism, automation, and digital, platform-based monopolies become a matter of growing concern for economic policy, what kinds of solutions - basic income? new forms of data ownership?- are viable and political desirable? Most of all, what role should technological sovereignty play in facilitating them?

2016

09 Dec
BITS Symposium. Technological Sovereignty and the Crisis of Capitalism (Day 2)

The BITS Symposium will stimulate a global debate about the changing meanings of sovereignty and explore the ways in which various types of sovereignty – of citizens, cities, nation states, and regions – can still be maintained in today’s highly technological global conditions. With a strong focus on the political effects of technological change, BITS will explore how the rise of Technology platforms and the data extractivism they enable is transforming governments, labor, ownership, and access to the basics of life such as water, food, housing, and energy. This task is particularly important as the current political and economic regime reformulates itself around the rhetorical and practical kernel of digital technology, with a new mighty alliance between technology firms, global finance, and the military-industrial complex.

08 Dec
BITS Symposium. Technological Sovereignty and the Crisis of Capitalism (Day 1)

The BITS Symposium will stimulate a global debate about the changing meanings of sovereignty and explore the ways in which various types of sovereignty – of citizens, cities, nation states, and regions – can still be maintained in today’s highly technological global conditions. With a strong focus on the political effects of technological change, BITS will explore how the rise of Technology platforms and the data extractivism they enable is transforming governments, labor, ownership, and access to the basics of life such as water, food, housing, and energy. This task is particularly important as the current political and economic regime reformulates itself around the rhetorical and practical kernel of digital technology, with a new mighty alliance between technology firms, global finance, and the military-industrial complex.

14 Nov
Culture and cities: the challenge of tourism, by David Harvey

This year, the Alternativa Hall Festival in Barcelona is exploring mass tourism and its collateral effects, from slum tourism to the process of gentrification, with particular focus on the phenomenon of city branding and (un)sustainability. A new section will be opened with a talk by British geographer and social theorist David Harvey, Distinguished Professor of Anthropology and Geography at the City University of New York and a Miliband Fellow of the London School of Economics.

07 Oct
Technological Sovereignty: A New Challenge for Cities? BITS Launch

Barcelona Initiative for Technological Sovereignty (BITS), a multidisciplinary effort to analyze and shape an urban technological agenda rooted in the ideals of democracy, solidarity, and autonomy.