Type: Public event

Beyond the Digital Divide

Unpacking the Complexities of Development and Data Colonialism


Alejandro Mayoral Baños

Date & time

Mar 13, 2024, 4:00-5:30 pm EDT


Weill Hall, The Betty Classroom (Rm 1110)
735 S State Street, Ann Arbor, MI 48109

The Center for Racial Justice and Science, Technology, and Public Policy (STPP) are excited to host Alejandro Mayoral Baños, a dedicated activist and academic who serves as the Executive Director and founder of the Indigenous Friends Association (IFA)  In this talk, Alejandro will be exploring the intricate and multifaceted realm of Information and Communication Technology for Development (ICT4D), and assessing its promising advantages and its significant downfalls.

This discussion is designed to critically evaluate the prevailing optimistic views on how technology contributes to development objectives while also scrutinizing the less discussed aspects of data colonialism. We will examine the critical concern that these technologies, often praised as instruments of "empowerment and progress," might unintentionally foster new iterations of colonialism. We will explore the invaluable perspectives of local and Indigenous communities from diverse epistemologies in the design of digital technologies, highlighting the critical importance of incorporating these unique viewpoints to foster more ethical and equitable technological solutions.  

About the speaker

Alejandro Mayoral Baños is a dedicated activist and academic who serves as the Executive Director and founder of the Indigenous Friends Association (IFA), an Indigenous-led tech not-for-profit located in Tkaronto, Canada. Holding a Ph.D. from the collaborative program in Communication and Culture offered by York University and Toronto Metropolitan University, Alejandro has honed his expertise at the intersections of decolonial computing, digital decoloniality, and Indigenous media. Through his leadership at IFA in Canada and as President of Magtayaní, a not-for-profit organization in Mexico, Alejandro tirelessly champions the causes of tech equity, digital sovereignty, and the creation of sustainable career pathways for Indigenous communities. His commitment extends beyond these leadership roles; Alejandro is deeply involved in volunteering, leading, and collaborating on a multitude of projects that focus on Indigeneity and social activism across several nations, including Canada, Mexico, Peru, Guatemala, Chile, and Bolivia. In recognition of his groundbreaking contributions, Alejandro was distinguished as an Ashoka Fellow in 2023, a testament to his impactful and transformative work in the field. 

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