3rd Digital Geographies Conference: can digital technologies bring hope to vulnerable territories?
Digital technologies have become a significant topic for geographical studies. A myriad of new technological developments is shaping territories and changing social, economic, and political processes. Digital technologies are creating several opportunities for territories from the point of view of social change, news ways of governance, as well as new economic business models. Digital platforms appear in this context as an intermediator of these interactions and flows between different actors. At the same time, a new plethora of digital tools, including FinTech, GreenTech or Artificial Intelligence are providing new solutions for old problems. However, digital technologies also have raised several concerns. On the one hand, existent inequalities have deepened as a result of technological development. On the other hand, new digital divides are emerging.
Digital inequalities are evident in many ways. It has been noted that digital production is concentrated in wealthier countries (Global North) and in social groups with higher social, cultural and economic capital. In this sense, there is a new process of digital neocolonialism, which implies the emergence of digital peripheries in which disparities regarding technological usage are more evident. Thus, we need to reflect about who is producing these new territorialities and who is participating in the online world. This can also lead us to question how the marginal voices of (gender, ethnic, class…) minorities can be emancipated through alternative digital practices.
With this in mind, we need to understand if digital technologies are becoming a new source of hope for vulnerable territories, or if these technological developments are creating new challenges which need to be discussed and explored.