Databite No. 86: Tim Maughan

the hidden network that keeps the world running

07.14.16 - 12:00 pm

Data & Society
New York, NY

Databites are Data & Society's weekly lunch conversations focused on unresolved questions and timely topics of interest to our community.

RSVP required. To request an invitation, please email events at data society dot net.

You can livestream the talk starting at 12:15pm on July 14.

Tim Maughan presents The Hidden Network that Keeps the World Running:

Over the summer of 2014 Tim Maughan joined the nomadic design studio Unknown Fields on a three week long journey. They followed a supply chain (in reverse) from South Korea to China to trace the source of our consumer goods. After spending a week on a container ship visiting the mega-ports of South Korea, Taiwan and China, followed by visits to factories in Shenzhen and Yiwu, they ended up in Inner Mongolia where they witnessed the environmental impact of mining the rare earth materials used to manufacture consumer electronics.

In this talk, Tim will outline how the this rare glimpse behind the curtain of capitalism changed his perspective on globalization. He’ll also explore the role that algorithms play in managing this vast, earth-spanning semi-autonomous infrastructure, and look at the impact that the manufacturing of everyday items has on both the environment and human lives. He will also discuss the potential for these supply chains to affect democracy when combined with the algorithmic management of economies.

Recommended reading: The Invisible Network That Keeps the World Running

Tim Maughan is an author, journalist, and features writer using both fiction and non-fiction to explore issues around cities, class, culture, globalisation, technology, and the future. His work regularly appears on the BBC, Vice, and New Scientist.


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