Shifting macro-level trends are restructuring the conditions under which platforms have operated for long, and are redetermining their actions and choices. Furthermore, a shrinking financial and tightening legislative landscape has created significant roadblocks for the growth-first model that has been key to the rise of Web 2.0. Additionally, Big Tech platforms are experiencing a fall-off in network advantage while facing serious competition from new entrants in the Generative artificial intelligence (AI) sector that is poised to power the future of innovation. While current developments are still playing out, and it is too soon to know the mid-to-long-term outlook for the platform economy, it is clear that the digital paradigm is entering a state of flux. Many forks are emerging in the road ahead and we could be seeing a temporary blip or staring at a transformative point. Amidst these developments, for the 2023 issue of IT for Change’s State of Big Tech compendium, we are inviting contributors to capture this dual moment of crisis and reinvention and reflect on the pitfalls and potential for an alternative digital paradigm.
Our essays will focus on the following broad themes:
- Capturing the Flux: How do we make sense of the current moment in the platform economy?
- Finding the Silver Linings: What opportunities are present and can be capitalized on?
- Envisioning a Sustainable and Just Transition: What is the way ahead for the digital economy?
Contributors to the collection are invited to write an analytical essay (between 4000-5000 words) that engages with the above themes by drawing upon specific episodes and instantiations and teasing out the above questions in a contextual and historically rooted way. Essays can focus on local, national, and/or international issues or happenings. They can hone in on a specific illustration or weave together different cases. They must be able to take stock of the shifting institutional context and offer directions for a way forward. This upcoming issue will be released towards the end of 2023.
Know more and read the concept note of the State of Big Tech 2023 issue here.
In 2022, we released our debut State of Big Tech compendium that brought together activists and scholars to take up the mantle of unpacking the misdeeds of tech behemoths, chronicle their role in the political economy of development, and formulate a clear and strong vision for the future towards global digital justice. Under the theme of ‘Dismantling Digital Enclosures’, the essays and interviews in our debut edition engaged with everything from the creeping onslaught of Big Tech into critical sectors such as health, food systems, and agriculture, to its capture of innovation networks and multilateral spaces, and the hype and hopes behind Web3.