[Virtual] The Pandemic As a Portal
Video & Podcast: Tracking and enabling new possibilities
The pandemic is a portal, the novelist Arundhati Roy wrote in an essay for the Financial Times. “We can choose to walk through it, dragging the carcasses of our prejudice and hatred, our avarice, our data banks and dead ideas, our dead rivers and smoky skies behind us. Or we can walk through lightly, with little luggage, ready to imagine another world. And ready to fight for it.”
In many ways, the coronavirus pandemic has resurfaced and amplified the worst in the world: intensification of surveillance, racism, nationalism, anti-scientism, bigotry.
But something strange has happened as well. Changes, ideas and solutions that were previously deemed impossible have suddenly become possible. Many of these changes still don’t go far enough, come with caveats and fine print, are subject to absurd means-testing, or are only temporary. These aren’t necessarily the changes we want, but they give us a glimpse of what has suddenly become possible.
A number of projects are seeking to capture and document the new possible. In this lunch hour, three of these projects, COVID-19 Policy Response, The New Possible, and Don't Go Back to Normal talk about their experience and debate how we can ensure that the new normal doesn’t turn into the old normal.
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Elettra Bietti (New Possible)
Elettra Bietti is a Doctoral Candidate at Harvard Law School, a Kennedy Scholar and an affiliate at the Berkman Klein Center. Her research is on platform power understood through a moral and political philosophy lens, as well as EU and US technology law. Prior to starting her doctorate, Elettra was a lawyer in London and Brussels, focusing on intellectual property disputes and antitrust law. Elettra is admitted to practice in New York and England and Wales, and regularly volunteers for Privacy International in London.
Frederike Kaltheuner (New Possible)
Frederike Kaltheuner is a tech policy fellow at Mozilla. Previously, she led Privacy International’s work on corporate surveillance. Frederike has given expert evidence in the European Parliament, the Belgium Parliament, and the UK House of Lords. She holds an MSc in Internet Science the University of Oxford and a BA in Philosophy and Politics from Maastricht University. Her upcoming book is about technology and (global) justice.
Phoebe Tickell (Don’t Go Back to Normal Project)
Phoebe is a complex systems thinker developing methodologies and governance better suited for a complex world. Previously Researcher at Imperial College London in Microbial Engineering, now Associate Lecturer at Schumacher College, she has worked across multiple contexts applying a complexity and systems thinking lens to governance, organisational design, philanthropy, advising government, education and strategy. She sits on the Advisory Board of the International Bateson Institute.
Francis Tseng (COVID-19 Policy Tracker)
Francis Tseng is a software engineer and lead independent researcher at the Jain Family Institute. In the past he was a designer at IDEO, adjunct faculty at the New School, co-publisher of The New Inquiry, researcher-in-residence at NEW INC, fellow at the New York Times, and worked on spatial economic modeling at the Institute for Applied Economic Research.
Daria Vaisman (COVID-19 Policy Tracker)
Daria currently works in the public sector. She is a doctoral candidate in Criminal Justice at CUNY Graduate Center and adjunct graduate faculty in statistics and research design at John Jay College. Previously, she was Senior Analyst at Transparency International, Associate Country Director at the Eurasia Foundation, and a speechwriter and media analyst for the Prime Minister of Georgia. As a former journalist, she has reported from a number of countries for newspapers and magazines. She is also co-director of a forthcoming documentary on unrecognized countries. The views expressed in today’s talk are her own.