H2O'Lyon Webinar #11 // Karen Bakker

On The January 26, 2022

5.30pm (Paris time)
English and French speaking

Digital Water

Lecturer :
Dr Karen Bakker, Professor at University of British Columbia, Canada

► Digital Water

"Digital technologies are spurring a transformation of water management and governance. This presentation examines the application of digital technologies (with an emphasis on artificial intelligence and citizen science apps) to freshwater management, which has the potential to dramatically alter the role that water plays in development and indeed societal evolution more broadly. Proponents of these technologies promise that they will accelerate sustainability, enhance hazard mitigation, and incorporate citizens in novel, meaningful ways in decision-making. Skeptics argue that these technologies raise significant ethical concerns, including such as privacy, transparency, and data colonialism. Additionally, critics point to the massive water and energy demands that digital infrastructures require, in the context of deeply uneven hydrosocial risks (particularly in the context of climate change) which are disproportionately borne by underserved communities. This debate raises complex questions which merit further scrutiny by scholars and practitioners alike, given that water is an essential resource for human and environmental health and wellbeing: a flow resource, essential for life, which sits at the water development nexus."

Dr. Karen Bakker is a Professor at the University of British Columbia, with expertise in water and environmental governance and digital innovation. She holds a DPhil from Oxford University (where she studied as a Rhodes Scholar) and a B.A.Sc. from McMaster University. The author of more than 100 academic publications and seven books, she is a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada’s College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists, and a member of the boards of the International Institute for Sustainable Development and the National Research Council. A serial entrepreneur, she is active as a consultant and coach in the tech sector, and currently serves as Strategy Advisor to a Future of Work tech company. Her work has been recognized by numerous awards, including Canada's Top 40 under 40, and an Annenberg Fellowship in Communication at Stanford University.