How did we learn that we need to learn to code—or else? This talk draws on three years of fieldwork among Washington, D.C.’s public libraries, and interviews with librarians and homeless patrons, to explore how poverty comes to be understood as a ‘digital divide’ and how that framework changes the nature and purpose of public institutions in an era of skyrocketing inequality.
Dan Greene is a Postdoctoral Researcher with the Social Media Collective at Microsoft Research New England. His research focuses on the future of work and its shadow--the future of unemployment. A former social worker, Dan received his PhD in American Studies from the University of Maryland, where he was also a University Flagship Fellow and a member of the EViD (Ethics and Values in Design) Lab. His dissertation (and current book project, tentatively titled The Promise of Access: Hope and Inequality in the Information Economy) draws on extensive ethnographic fieldwork to explore the reproduction of the digital divide and how urban institutions like startups, charter schools, and public libraries make the problem of poverty a problem of technology and remake themselves in the process. At Microsoft Research, he’s beginning his next project: A history of technologies used for hiring and firing, and the automation of human resource management. Dan’s research has been published in journals such as the International Journal of Communication, Surveillance & Society, and TripleC. You can find him online at dmgreene.net.