Today’s urban environments are layered with data and algorithms that fundamentally shape how we perceive and move through space. But are our digitally dense environments continuing to amplify inequalities rather than alleviate them? This book looks at the key contours of information inequality, and who, what and where gets left out.
In my latest book, ‘Geographies of Digital Exclusion: Data and Inequality’, written with Dr Martin Dittus, together we explore the key contours of information inequality and who, what and where gets left out, as well as putting forward our roadmap for what alternative digital geographies might look like. The world we live in is augmented by all manner of digital content, and we argue that a key role of geographers should be to ask questions about who shapes, owns, and controls the digital geographies we live within. This book represents a culmination over a decade’s worth of research in digital geography and I believe it will help shape the debate around how as a society we tackle digital exclusion.
Whilst platforms like Google Maps and Wikipedia have become important gateways to understanding the world, they are characterised by significant gaps and biases, often driven by processes of exclusion. As a result, their digital augmentations tend to be refractions rather than reflections: they highlight only some facets of the world at the expense of others. They shape not understand how we understand, but also how we move through the world.
However, this doesn’t mean that more equitable futures aren’t possible. In their new book, by outlining the mechanisms through which our digital and material worlds intersect, the Oxford academics conclude with a roadmap for what alternative digital geographies might look like.
Dr Martin Dittus, formerly a Data Scientist at the Oxford Internet Institute, added,
This collaboration with Professor Mark Graham has been an incredible journey. The book is a synthesis of two complementary perspectives: Mark’s insights into information geographies and digital inequalities, and my work on social computing and mass-participation platforms. In this book we are presenting compelling evidence that the global majority is underserved by today’s internet platforms, and we hope that it will spark new conversations about who is being left out and what we can do to tackle digital exclusion.
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