Trienal de Arquitectura de Lisboa

Financial Times columnist comes to Lisbon to talk about what is really innovation on Wednesday, Nove

08 NOV 2017
Palácio Sinel de Cordes
Izabella Kaminska
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Human Entities' next conversation is with Financial Times writer, blogger and columnist Izabella Kaminska on November 8, 2017. In this Talk, Izabella Kaminska will address some of the major technological fallacies being propagated by the tech community and ask the audience to question the logic behind some of the rhetoric being force fed to the masses with regards to technological systems. 

There’s a presumption in technology that all innovation is good, and that more information and more data can only lead to positive outcomes. But what if innovation can be both good and bad? For example, criminals are highly innovative, but are they really adding value? Information too can be both accurate or misleading. Statistics can be grossly misused to confirm biases rather than set out neutral findings. And whereas our cultural mindset is moving towards greater acceptance of diverse groups, algorithms and neural networks are being introduced which lack this sort of empathy entirely and end up discriminating in-passionately. At corporations around the world, in a clear example of Jevons paradox in action, administrators and core staff are being laid off or downsized only to be replaced with even more expensive (and often larger) cohorts of IT consultants in the long run. Most of the time there’s very little impact on the bottom line. The proposition Robert Solow’s put forward in the 90s that we can see the computer age everywhere but in the productivity statistics is simply not dissipating as a result. In an era when Google can fire an employee for believing that women may be naturally inclined towards different professions, yet its own algorithms make huge presumptions about the tendencies and inclinations of women all the time, while encouraging gaming and front-running of consumers on the internet, we have to ask just whose interests is Silicon Valley really serving? Technology that fails to empower the masses is hardly liberating or progressive.

Izabella’s talk will be followed by a Q&A session moderated by Sandro Mendonça (Professor, ISCTE Business School and columnist at Expresso newspaper). Free admission, this talk will take place at Sinel de Cordes Palace.

About Izabella Kaminska

Izabella Kaminska is a writer, blogger and columnist for the Financial Times‘s award-winning FT Alphaville blog as well as for its opinion pages. She regularly reports about technology, media and market trends, as well as economics, banking and finance. In the last few years she’s turned her attention to the rise of fintech, the sharing economy and cryptocurrency. Before joining the FT, Izabella was a producer for CNBC and a reporter for Reuters. She started her career working for English-language business titles in the former Soviet Union, while developing specialist knowledge about the petrochemical industry. She has also worked as an associate editor of BP’s internal magazine.

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