Over the last few years Public Knowledge has hosted various iterations of Emerging Tech DC (#ETDC). This event has served as a platform for tech policy advocates and tech entrepreneurs to have fruitful discussions about artificial intelligence, virtual reality, internet of things, and 3D printing. This year, in recognition of diversity of thought, experiences, and needs of people who use this technology, Public Knowledge will host this event with twist -- Emerging Tech for Social Change. At Public Knowledge, we understand that tech policy impacts communities, specifically marginalized communities, in different ways and there must be debates now and in the future that actively include those communities. Our goal for Emerging Tech for Social Change is to center voices at the margins in hopes that policy debates and panelist participation in said debates reflect our values as an organization and the public interest community as a whole.
I spent many weekends and summers at my grandmother’s house, a humble home down a long, dirt road outside of the town of Hazlehurst, Georgia. As a teenager and undergraduate student, a time when many of us are far too social, I knew a visit to my grandmother’s house meant an unwanted digital detox. Instead, I enjoyed the tranquility of sitting on the porch as mosquitoes buzzed by or I accompanied my grandmother in the living room as she watched reruns of Bonanza. I found other things to do with my time and not because I enjoyed being disconnected; it was because AT&T’s (during some of those years it was Cingular Wireless) cell reception was non-existent. In 2018, I now have one or two bars that sometimes allow me to make a call or text to a friend when I’m visiting; however, full access to the internet solely with my wireless connection is just not possible.