Welcoming Chris Messina and Payal Arora to the conversation

We’ve adding hashtags and digital trends in the Third World to the Techfestival programme, as the inventor of the hashtag, Chris Messina, and author of “The Next Billion Users”, Payal Arora, join Techfestival September 5-7.

We’re entering the societal era of the internet, reminding ourselves that every piece of tech came from the hands of humans. That we design the robots. The issue, then, is not only what tech we make, but who is making it? And that is something we need to talk about.

This September, Chris Messina (US) and Payal Arora (IN) join the conversation at Techfestival. Chris has spent a great deal of his career designing experiences for Google and Uber, founding startups, and making a name for himself in the tech environment. Known as the man who drastically changed how we communicate online, Chris has become a prominent voice on the future of the internet. He recently became a digital nomad, travelling the world and speaking on social technology, product design, and founder culture and mental fitness.

Chris joins Techfestival to talk about how we can set ourselves upon creating the technology of better humans, by investing in and creating better versions of ourselves. Since it will be us — or our children — who will build the next generation of AI companions, the only way to bring about the future that we deserve and desire is to first change the culture of founders and makers.

Techfestival Talks happen under an early September evening sky when the temperature is still mild and welcoming. We make the space intimate and open to engagement – and never too far from food and refreshments. It is our opportunity to invite humans with crucial knowledge to join our conversation on the future of tech progress.

Chris’ gift to our social spheres – the Twitter hashtag – has drastically changed how, with who, and in what way we communicate online. Children growing up today can now easily seek, share and decipher the vast amount of information on the web, set up direct links with people outside our digital social sphere and join in on other people’s conversations. This has enabled us to create social, political and intellectual connections with other users thousands of miles across the globe. And what we’re discovering is that online, these users are not so different from ourselves. That internet searches for cat videoes on YouTube and explicit contents are equally popular across the globe.

Based on her book, “The Next Billion Users”, Payal Arora joins Techfestival to help us explore internet trends of users in some of the world’s biggest and most populated non-Western countries. Payal’s research has taken her from factory towns and slums in India and China to townships and favelas in South Africa, Brazil and the Middle East, raising crucial questions along the way. Why do citizens of states with strict surveillance policies appear to care so little about their digital privacy? Why do Brazilians eschew geotagging on social media? What drives young Indians to friend ‘foreign’ strangers on Facebook and give ‘missed calls’ to people? In an anthropological exploration of some of our most basic, human needs, Arora reveals habits of use, bound to intrigue everyone from casual internet users to developers of global digital platforms seeking to reach the next billion internet users.

With their topics, Chris and Payal are providing us with key knowledge and new considerations for future tech progress. And as such, we’re excited to hear what they have to say.

Are you?

Get Wristband

June 20, 2019


Join our mailing list
Receive updates on progressive tech & the festival programme