The Next Billion Users
Not even half of the world’s population is online. Yet. More parts of the world are getting internet access at a high pace. In a talk about digital life beyond the West, Payal Arora will address what the needs and motivation for the coming internet users might be.
What do we know about the poor and their digital life? A majority of the world’s non-Western youths are fast getting online. India and Brazil rank second and third in the world for most Facebook users, and in China, there are now more smartphones than human beings.
Yet, there is a continuing notion in the Western mindset that the poor in non-Western countries have less of an outspoken digital presence than their Western counterparts; that they are somehow ‘purer’ online, and that the only technology these populations are interested in, are those which will improve their quality of life and their income.
Payal Arora (IN), author of “The Next Billion Users”, joins Techfestival to tell us that the reality is much more mundane. That cat videos are universal, and that pornography remains the top internet search term across the globe. Focusing on digital practices, Payal will uncover the real motivation of the new digital users and shine a light on our shared basic needs for leisure time and social connectivity in an online setting.
Based on her anthropological studies into digitalisation in poor, non-western communities, Payal will attempt to de-hype the influence of AI, automation and tech innovation on our everyday lives. With some of the most populous and poor countries in the world shifting their leisure time to being online, the question remains; who will actually shape the future of the internet?
Payal giving a talk at a Tedx event hosted by Erasmus University Rotterdam, where she is also a professor and lecturer.