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University News

GloTech Lab at UMass Amherst Hosts Global Elections Event Discussing Brazil, India, Ghana, South Africa and the US

GloTech Lab

The Global Technology for Social Justice (GloTech) Lab, a new hub for critical technology and global studies at UMass Amherst, is hosting 60 scholars and civil society leaders from around the world April 18-19 for its official launch event, “Empowering Election Integrity in the Global Majority.”

In a year of pivotal global elections, the GloTech Lab’s research partners and collaborators are gathering at UMass to exchange strategies for designing inclusive election coalitions, monitoring and demonetizing “disinformers” and using generative AI tools for high-impact investigations.

The event will discuss “Custom Built / Feito Sob Medida: A Strategy Blueprint for Global Majority Election Coalitions,” a pioneering study from the lab’s researchers comparing Brazil and Philippines election coalition experiences and outcomes. The study offers practical guidelines for civil society leaders around the world to design culturally relevant interventions and mitigate risks faced by the front-line workers implementing them.

A highlight of the event is “Global Elections 2024,” a roundtable panel that will examine the stakes of upcoming elections, emerging wedge issues and the challenges posed by AI-powered influence operations across Brazil, India, Ghana, South Africa and the U.S. Moderated by Ethan Zuckerman, associate professor in the College of Information and Computer Sciences, Department of Communication and School of Public Policy, the discussion will feature expert researchers representing each of the countries, including Kathy Roberts Forde, professor of journalism and associate dean for equity and inclusion in the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, and Seyram Avle, associate professor of global digital media and GloTech community lead.

Other workshops to be held during the event are an exploration of AI tools and computational resources for data journalists and a discussion on defunding disinformation and exposing illicit influence operations.

“We are so honored that GloTech has magnetized such a diverse and talented group to travel far and wide to visit us in Amherst,” says Jonathan Corpus Ong, GloTech Lab director and associate professor of communication. “I think people in the tech and democracy space are really craving for a ‘trust network’ where they get to play to reimagine ways of working to be more just, sustainable and non-extractive. GloTech Lab is all about blasting open exclusive and stale spaces and saying, ‘let’s listen to fresh new voices.’”

With the guiding principle of “Beyond Borders, Bits and Biases,” the GloTech Lab was launched in March to apply a globally minded and community-driven approach to critical tech studies. More information about the lab can be found at https://glotechlab.net.