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2021 versus Big Tech
A Year in Review
To cap off the year, we reached out to 21 powerful voices from around the world, across domains of research, activism, and advocacy to capture the pulse of change in the battle against Big Tech.
There are many successes worth celebrating this year – from landmark judicial victories that constitute the first step towards restoring the humanity of gig workers to resounding civic actions, campaigns, and new modes of worker organizing that have forced governments and corporations to sit up, take notice, and change course.
As you prepare to wind down and welcome in a new year, perhaps with the caution and incertitude that most of the world embodies at this time, this year end issue might provide the necessary hope for the road forward. We also bring you something fun – a radical and edgy smorgasbord of reading and media recommendations on technology, hand-picked by our experts that you can peruse through and savor for weeks.
Wishing you a happy holiday season,
The DataSyn Team
THE MULTITUDE RISES
21 Takes on Big Tech from 2021
21 experts guide us through the small and big victories in the fight against Big Tech across the world in this series of short interviews. They offer us diverse trajectories of resistance, opportunity and defiance for the year to come in the steady march against Big Tech capture.
POSTCARDS FROM THE GLOBAL SOUTH
Cracks in the Edifice: An Illustrative Essay from the People’s Tech Frontier
The DataSyn Team
As most of the world concludes a year of precarity, deprivation, and widening inequality, Big Tech is poised to hit double-digit rates of growth, with the top five global corporations looking to make $1.398 trillion in combined revenue in 2021.
Yet, this is only part of the picture. 2021 was also a year of subversion, with activists, workers, and even nation-states, throwing down the gauntlet. Read more about these moments of resistance against Big Tech in our illustrative essay.
In courts across the world, gig workers took Uber to task demanding workplace dignity.
The Chinese government paved the way for new data imaginaries through its Big Tech crackdown.
Women platform workers took to the streets in India, protesting against exploitative algorithms and fighting for fair wages and working conditions.
South Africa introduced critical policy measures, asserting its digital sovereignty.
2021 saw many legal challenges stopping Amazon in its tracks, culminating in the global Make Amazon Pay campaign in November, with workers, activists, and civil society organizations coming together to disrupt Amazon's supply chains.
Simmering rage against dominant platforms like Grab and Gojek has sparked off increased public demonstrations by a burgeoning unionized platform workforce in East Asia.
The Sins and Synergies Lounge
What could a Cold War caper teach us about modern anxieties about AI? Can contemporary Chinese science fiction tell us anything about the imminent future? Experts we contacted for this issue think we have a lot to learn from these reading and media suggestions. Check out our one-of-a-kind recommendation list about all things Big Tech!
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