The devices and platforms tied to the digital economy are also intrinsically connected to global supply chains and physical infrastructures. For instance, iPhones are produced by workers in large factories in Shenzhen, China as well as through the cognitive labor of Apple engineers. Meanwhile, the planned obsolescence of the latest gadgets has environmental effects, resulting in the massive buildup of electronics debris in the Global South. US Maker culture is also influenced by practices of open design and sharing within manufacturing circles in Shenzhen, showing how global supply chains do not flow in one direction.
In this Learning Club, we will discuss types of work that are usually discounted by innovation-focused origin stories as well as the material and infrastructural consequences of digital production. We will also address the ways that Silicon Valley values are embedded in and informed by transnational flow of goods, services, and people.