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The Programmable Infrastructure of Tech Giants

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Oct 12

Date and time: 12 October 2021, 15:00-16:00 CEST (UTC +2)
Speaker: Jean-Christophe Plantin, LSE
Title: The Programmable Infrastructure of Tech Giants

Meeting ID: 695 6088 7455
Password: 755440

Abstract: While the attention to tech giants’ recent infrastructure projects (such as data centres or subsea cables) emphasizes the enormous investments they require or capacities they enable, I show in this talk that tech giants change the networking world in more subtle ways.

Using examples from my current research in the networking & data centre industries, I show how tech giants also operate at a granular level to make networks programmable and adaptable to their needs: for example, by advocating open source technologies and collaborations, creating industry-wide consortia, or developing white papers for technical standards. This look at tech giants’ activity eventually reveals how networking infrastructure is key to the critical analysis of the power they have on the economy and digital life.

Bio: Dr Jean-Christophe Plantin is an Associate Professor at the Department of Media and Communications at LSE. His research concerns civic uses of mapping platforms, invisible labour in archives, and currently the infrastructural role that digital platforms play in society.

Link to the profile of Jean-Christophe Plantin