I was thrilled when I discovered that I had been selected to participate in the CIS Behind, Beneath and Beyond Social Media virtual program! I’m incredibly grateful to the 360 International Team for funding me and allowing me to take part in this, as I believe this program imparts crucial skills and knowledge required to understand many of the technological advancements expected to be seen in the future, along with their various implications.
As we all know, new technologies and digital transformation have impacted countless facets within our society, contributing to growing changes in our daily lives. Most of us expect the coming decades to witness great scientific breakthroughs, many of which we have read about in science fiction novels. While these technologies can be used to make our lives easier, there are valid ethical concerns being raised in regards to such inventions coming into common usage. In the age of surveillance capitalism, where powerful entities exploit our personal data for financial gain, there’s no telling how technologies of the future will be used and for what malicious purposes. It’s evident that technological developments in the coming half-century will forever change life as we know it. All of these anxieties, hopes and predictions of the future, along with what’s going on in our current technological reality were highlighted in this virtual program.
Over the span of 2 weeks, we had to attend 8 different sessions with experts from all across the world, who spoke to us about their unique experiences in their respective lines of work. As a result, each session was a deep dive into a specific aspect of social media and/or technology, allowing us to gain fascinating insights into the world of tech. A great thing about this program is the fact that there are no assignments, therefore you’re given the opportunity to simply listen and learn from a group of amazing people who have had years of experience in their fields and will impart invaluable knowledge.
Themes of the sessions ranged from topics including artificial intelligence, ethics, data, cybersecurity, neuroscience, cyborgism, biohacking, posthumanism and so much more. Following every session, we were sent a list of resources recommended by the guest speakers so as to acquire a better understanding of their presentations. We also participated in a number of engaging activities that were designed to help us really absorb all of these new and challenging ideas.
Overall, this was an amazing experience that allowed me to learn a great deal about what to expect in the future in terms of technology, along with ways I can protect myself in the age of surveillance capitalism. It’s so important to listen to various new perspectives about a future that will affect us all. No matter what your academic focus is, I highly encourage anyone who wants to participate in this virtual program to do so. Not only will it help further your academic, professional and personal development, you will also obtain knowledge that will help you prepare for the future of technology.