New Class At UC Berkeley

Posted by Tapan Parikh on Jul 18, 2013
9668 reads  
At the end of the last ServiceSpace retreat, I pondered about the questions we had raised and realized that this was the reason why I got into technology in the first place. :)  After some brainstorming, Nipun and I have decided to teach a class at UC Berkeley next semester, titled: "Alternative Visions of Technology".

In this course, we will survey a range of "alternative” thinkers - including, but not limited to, Mahatma Gandhi, Rabindranath Tagore, Ivan Illich, Paulo Freire and E.F. Schumacher, to derive potential implications of each of their ideas for the design and use of technological artifacts. We will try to understand their perspectives on technology, society and human development, the underlying values that drive these perspectives, and to apply these values to practical design considerations for technology. The course will consist of weekly readings, discussion, design exercises and short projects.

Our broader hope is that it starts to change the collective dialogue.  Below is a PBS documentary on the rise of the multi-trillion dollar artificial intelligence economy.  If we compound this with new research that 1 in 4 Wall Streeters would cheat to gain $10 million, one can sense the gravity of the situation.


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Comments (11)

  • Bela Shah wrote ... the course available online:)?

  • Janis Daddona wrote ...

    Fantastic! Great idea.

  • Trishna Shah wrote ...

    Awesome to hear Tapan! Hope the classes are archived online somewhere :)

  • Richard wrote ...


  • Lavanya Marla wrote ...

    Brilliant idea :) Would love it if the classes were available online!

  • Birju Pandya wrote ...

    great stuff! if ever there is a parallel for economics/finance, would love to talk about it!

  • Manisha Pahwa wrote ...

    Wow! That sounds like a really powerful course!

  • Alan Zulch wrote ...

    Tapan, it's wonderful to hear about your upcoming course and it reminds me of a self-designed PolSci course on social and political theories of technology that I took as an undergrad at UCB in 1987. Richard Sclove (now of was a grad student and I was his sole student in the "class". I was (and still am) fascinated by the writings of Illich, Langdon Winner, et al. Great stuff!

  • Leah wrote ...

    is this class only for berkeley students? ;)

  • Niall wrote ...

    Hi thanks for developing this new class. It sounds very interesting and draws on the work of some of the thinkers who have had a major influence on me.
    Will this class be uploaded onto iTunes U? Many classes from Bercklay are and I have a feeing that this class is going to be very influential .
    With very best wishes,

  • Conrad P Pritscher wrote ...

    Dear Nipun and Tapan,
    Thank you for continuing to stimulate my thinking. you have my deep gratitude.I have a book on, "reopening Einstein's thought: about what can't be learned from textbooks." I could make electronic copies available to you for your class.