[ISS4E] Reminder: Talk TODAY 11-12 by Prof. Aaditeshwar Seth, IIT Delhi in DC 2585

S. Keshav keshav at uwaterloo.ca
Thu May 21 09:21:10 EDT 2015

	I am delighted to announce that Aaditeshwar Seth, who did his PhD from 
the University of Waterloo in 2008, will be giving a talk today on his 
recent work on using mobile phones to create “community media” 
platforms for the underprivileged. Details are below.



Title: Design Principles for Creating Sustainable Community Media 
Aaditeshwar Seth
IIT Delhi

11am-12 noon, Thursday May 21
DC 2585

Abstract: Social media platforms on the Internet have arguably 
revolutionized accountability in governance, information dissemination, 
and even helped in the preservation of cultural artifacts. How can 
similar tools be made available in developing regions, where literacy 
and network connectivity remain significant challenges? With a view 
towards empowering local communities through information and 
communication technologies, we will describe a variety of innovative 
community media platforms we have developed over the years, in 
partnership with non-profit organizations working on community radio, 
community video, and phone-based messaging systems. The talk will help 
audience understand the context of building technologies in these 
regions, including constraints to keep the costs low, the design to be 
appropriate for users who have not had prior experience with computers, 
and take into account community and power dynamics in the ecosystem 
which affect the developmental impact that technology can have. The talk 
will also chart the journey of Gram Vaani as a social enterprise over 
the last six years, and discuss the specific challenges faced by 
startups working towards social good.

Bio: Aaditeshwar Seth is an assistant professor in the Department of 
Computer Science at IIT Delhi, where he runs the ACT4D (Appropriate 
Computing Technologies for Development) research group. He graduated 
with a PhD degree from the University of Waterloo in Canada in 2008, and 
completed his B.Tech from IIT Kanpur in 2002. Aaditeshwar is passionate 
about building technologies for social development. He won the Knight 
News Challenge award in 2008 to start an organization, Gram Vaani, which 
builds low-cost voice-based systems for community media in rural areas. 
Gram Vaani’s technologies and work done by Aadi's students are now in 
use by over 100 developmental organizations in India, Africa, 
Afghanistan, and Pakistan, where collectively more than 2 million people 
have directly touched their platforms. Several elements of their work 
have also been adopted by government departments in India for scaleup, 
and have influenced the use of ICTs for development of many 
international aid organizations.

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