Within its effort to promote tech entrepreneurship, Jamaica’s diversity of culture & material infrastructure is often a source of anxiety. But that heterogeneity yields significant potential, both for its budding tech entrepreneurs and for those of us seeking alternatives to dominant ideas of technical praxis.
The work in these tech spaces---often as much focused on the individual and national self as on the artifact---involves a navigation of a radical and seemingly incoherent variety of cultural forms, discontinuities, and allegiances. While this negotiation challenges rote acceptance of the imported "Silicon Valley" methodology, as an orientation it offers instructive alternatives to dominant ideas of technical prowess and the figure of the entrepreneurial engineer. In this regard, islands like Jamaica are among the vanguard, allowing access to alternative futures with global resonance.
Kaiton Williams is PhD candidate Cornel University's Information Science program, completing his dissertaion with renowned HCI scholar Dr. Phoebe Sengers. Prior to his PhD he spent 12 years working in online services for Microsoft in Silicon Valley.
Williams' current research focuses on the role of technical capability and imagination in national and individual self-making and dialogs of entrepreneurship. In this talk, he will discuss his ethnographic participatory research done with island developers in Jamaica over the last 2 years, including work done as an instructor & consultant within tech entrepreneurship training programs run by the World Bank. He will also present two cases that illustrate the entangled political and technical environments from which these budding entrepreneurs must work to produce their future.