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tv   Silvia Lindtner Prototype Nation  CSPAN  March 6, 2021 5:00pm-6:00pm EST

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embrace textualism and individualism. i think it is right. think it's the only answer to avoid displaying the federal courts. i think he has been right all along. but i think going back to the point, why this influence? i think it has something to do with the power of his ideas and the remarkable capacity to express them so well. i thought of bad things to know if you know how to express them you might have some influence. : : overview of webinars, the chat is closed this evening but you
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can use the -- might want to keep the chat window open, rather, as i'll be submitting links to purchase throughout the event and if you're watching us later on youtube there are always links in the description below where you can purchase backs. if you watching live you can use the q & a feature of the webinar to submit any questions you have for q & a at the end of the conversation at any time and i will submit -- excuse me -- read a selection at the conclusion of the conversation. as a reminder you can shop for more book at literatibook -- stones in southeast michigan or to have shipped to your home in the out and we'd also ask you consider a $5 donation to sustain our virtual programming. i think of that as this week's or month's or years subscription
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to our events you can make donation at literatibookle we thank you for you attends dan depending on where and when in the world you may be joining. now tonight's author, and silvia lindtner, the cofounder of hacks matter, an associate director of the center for ethics, society and computing in mark cunningham is from -- she has written on modern chinese history for the "wall street journal" the l.a. review of books. they can't hear you but can sense how to the power of the internet so please join me in giving a warm welcome to silvia lindtner and maura cunningham.
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>> thank you, john, and thank you to literati book store for hosting this discussion. i'm so happy to be here talking about the book which is a really important book because it tells another version of a story we think we know. so, over the past several decades as pretty much everyone probably as noticed the phrase "made in china holiday pass become ubiquitous in our daily lives and everything your touching or within reach of right now probably bears the three little words. we see it on clothing, toys, hawsehold goods, electronics, machinery and so much more . throughout the 1990 and well into the 2000s, china was known as the factory of the world, churn ought goods that were sold in stores here for low prices that no american company could match. but with this depiction of china as a manufacturing powerhouse, the country's work force could only follow directions, not
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develop their own products. i know when i was in china, with a foreigners we would go to markets like beijing soap market or other outlets and we would see a lot of foreign tourists laughing at the stalls that were filled with not quite perfect knockoffs of global brands and you hear people scoffing at chinese firms for their lax preach to global copyrights and there was this pervasive narrative that china has mastered the art of following blueprints drawn by others but hadn't developed the home grown talent to create them. so that's the version of the story i think we all know and you'll see that frequently in media, portrayals, talking about china as this nation of copyright violating companies and producers of knockoff products. but that line of thinking
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ignores a vibrant sector of maker, innovators and entrepreneurs who are developing whole new industries for china in the 21st century, and their work is focus of the book, which is by the university of michigan professor silvia lindtner, "prototype nation. china and the contested promise of innovation "published by princeton university press and i'm delighted to be here with sylvia to bach her -- bought her book. we should give the audience an idea of what "prototype nation" is about. what is a maker and why are they important in china? >> thank you, for this lovely introduction and really looking forward to the conversation today. so, this basic question, what is the maker and why were or still are they important in china today, in the book i really approached this question through a transnational angle.
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when the book i argue that we can't understand why particular visions and practices of making spread in the u.s. following the financial crisis in 2007-and '8 is unought -than -'s place in the production of products is shifting and vice versa, we can't understand why the maker as you are asking what important in china at that time with the understanding how the west began to reimagine or rearticulate china and specifically chinese innovation at the time as a multidimensionally the book argues in order to stirred what being a maker in china and a maker of -- more broadly was about we have to begin by understanding specific historical condition and also the geopolitical context that gave rise to this very idea of the maker. so i want to start by
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elaborating that briefly. to give more context to that. the idea of the make are movement was basically that the tools and practices of so-called democracy cries ofized continuing protection, open source tinkering or approaches to software and hardware from those approaches all the way to things like pure production, open sharing another data, the idea that those forms of democracy technology and innovation would empower individuals to proceed to type alternatives to things like corporatized, politicized, exploiting structure of technology. that is the idea of the maker movement it and was really the reason that people became the makers of technology, they would then subsequently own the things they make and would be able to intervene in structures of
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inequality, injustice, for instance. so in the book i show how makers didn't simply just build open source things, like robotics that were open source, or do it yourself drone technology, but really built what i call in the book prototypes of intervention. that make the -- the promise of intervention concrete. so you can think, for instance, the y, do itself yourself cellphone that was popular around 2013 and '14 which promised that people like you and i could design our own communication devices or you might think of machines like the open source 3d printer, the maker abouter was well-known which demoed to everyone that something like industrial production can be a diy thing and something we do now -- in
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our living rooms or kitchens and this promise of making that all of us, you and i, can prototype to scale that was really taken up woodly following the 2002 and '8 financial -- 2007-8 financial crisis, and makers were predding and people began setting up maker spaces at universities and local communities communities ar space called all hand active. so what happened following the years of the financial crisis that led to this spread of the make are mom was the ideal of the make are movement and we witnessed a broader reckoning with the pitfalls of earlier technological promises that were to growing realization that technology in fact had been central to the things like capitalist expansion or precarious conditions of work,
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and in the book i argue it was in this very moment of kind of growing suspicion of the tech industry more broadly, and silicon valley in particular in the early promises it had made, it was in that very moment that ideals of making and the idea of the maker began taking shape. people who were active in the tech industry but also in design in education, in electronic arts and architecture, both in china and abroadright around this time began turning to making and also began turning to a city in china that became later known as this hollywood filmmaker and this intertwining of the stories, people began turning to the south of china specific and the divisions of the macker movement at the heart of the book, and so you were talking about the familiar story of china as a
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story of copycat, as a story of mass production, and people think of that story of china they often actually did historically and still do think a city that played a central role in the history of american outsourcing and houses still to today some of the most well-known contract manufacturers like fox, and so when people who were active in the global maker movement began taking an interest they began articulating as con set traiting a chinese approach to making, different from the west and one they envisioned and this was the people who had turned to -- were active in the blogger scene and
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saw senjen as china's version of making. that city, that rejoin -- active the maker movement to demonstrate there was something unique but their work in china, and the book asks the broader question of what was at stake for them? why was society important for them to put this in china, uniquely approach to making. -- to demonstrate that china, too, can innovated, and so it was this kind of -- -- the foundation for how china's -- a
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competitor to western modes 0 innovation and story we feel much more -- hear much more often today. the book, the reason for the book started ten years ago when you listened to stories but china today, started out my research, so narrative that has more recently morphed -- that we see more recently in this sort of space of tech innovation in china is we are witnessing the new tech cold war between the u.s. and china and what this shows in part is a revamping of earlier narratives of china as a threat, but what i show in the book it's really kind of a prehistory to this moment of china -- hough tide china become seen as this new innovation hub that might be a competitor or a threat to the western approach of innovation. >> so i think in the book you
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talk about the technooptimism in the maker movement and breaking through of the technological, economic, labor structures that would otherwise have potentially oppressed them. so, what are the structures in the chinese context that people were looking to escape? i guess what was the maker movement in china reacting to. you talked beaut the global financial crisis. what were the larger structures that people were looking to break free from? >> yeah. i think for -- to answer the question, would be really important to go back to the year of 2010 when some of these early maker spaces in china opened. so, back in 2010 the people who were involved in setting up the early paces some china came up with their own chinese term for maker, and the term in chinese
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is -- which differentiates the work from more common connotations with hacking or hacker which in both english and chinese has very neck negative connotation of illegally hacking into michigan or breaking security barriers and china's makers came up with the new term because they wanted to demonstrate that their project of making had positive connotation so the first part of the word connotes things like creativity or innovation or making itself, an entrepreneurship, but can mean and connote any of these things. and so i'm having this because the importance of the naming, the choice of the name-is really not no underestimate in terms of what was at stake for these people at the time. many ways what was at stake
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wasn't to much as to escape anything but to push back and intervene in long-held stereotypes about chinese as copycats or chinese as lacking creativity. so, in 2009 and '10 i followed a group of miami who came together across several cities in chinese, working on topics like -- what would it mean to start an open and free internet in china. working on -- eclectic group and they hosted some of china's blogger conferences, stared china's first co-working spaces and eventually chinese's first hacker spaces and thought of these open approaches to technology from peer production to eventually making and tinkering as a way to help them
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demonstrate that there was something about tech production in china that was just as innovative and creative or program even innovative and create enough new ways in comparison 0 to what we saw in the west, and it was specifically as i mentioned earlier, this was the time when people began also not just working in make examiner hacker spaces in chinese bull but also began turning towards shenzhen and what was at stake was to challenge the western frames of chinese people as being unable to innovate or chinese people as copycats, the more western centric trope of creativity in china but they also were eager to intervene in how the government was framing that at the time. so the government, too, in china, had framed -- often as lacking in quality or -- which
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is a term to describe people supposed lack of civility or modern capacities, and so it was really making what would at stake in the project of making was a commitment to push back and develop alternative narratives to the story of chineseness as being associated with lack or with nonexecution of ideas developed elsewhere. and so the book really shows what happened to that vision, that vision then was really -- that came out of this very eclectic group of people in the year from 2012 and '16 was taken up by much broader range of actors so many of them abroad, silicon valley type investors-set up incubator spays
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in shenzhen. european policymakers came to shenzhen to learn how to innovate and i met corporate layers from intel to microsoft and ali baba that invested in what was celebrated as china's unique innovation echo system. and so this earlier vision to -- you asked me escape or push back against these stereotypes but chineseness as opposed with lacking innovation, was suddenly taken up and reformulated on a much broader station and then in 2015 when the government, the chinese government, began turning to these ideas itself. we can talk about that more later. >> sure. it's really interesting because i think for so lock as you were saying earlier this, idea that china lacked innovation and there was a certain amount of disparagement in many foreign
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countries about china's copycat nation or a manufacturing hub but when you have the government trying to foster innovation or sue see this culture of innovation starting to emerge you get the anywhere tv of china as a technological threat, and we now have in the united states certainly this positioning of a new technological cold war between the united states and china. think that narrative has really emerged over the past couple of years, and we often see this framed as a competition and talked about as involving theft and surveillance between the massive global tech companies. how to makers fit into the story? most people you are talking about and your enter -- interlock tours you were talking about smaller companies and sometimes even individual people, not global tech firms. so, how does the make are
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movement fit into this larger picture of technological competition between the united states and china. >> such a great question. seems so counterintuitive at first but let me take a step back think through this troubling narrative that often positions china and the united states sort of engulfed in a new tech cold war. to me what is troubling about that frames it portrays china as fundamentally different from what i happening in the west, and china as nothing more than a surveillance state or author tarynan and is different how the -- in a western liberal democracy and what you see happening is stories really recycle various forms of old and newer forms of colonial orientalist, racist tropes of
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otherring and this not enough. china has long featured in western imagination, the narrative of threat and fear from the red scare, after the second world war to the rising dragon in the 1990s, and so just like this narratives from the past, their contemporary versions actually distract us in many ways from how power and control actually operate in china, and so one of the key aim -- i'm so glad you asked the question because one of the key aims of the book is to show what an -- a subculture meeting in china can tell us about both chinese governance and how it is shifting and also can tell us about western forms of control and shifting relationships between the u.s. and china. and so what does the maker have to do with all of this? at the heart of your question. so in 2015, as i mention
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easterly earlier the chinese government began appropriating making for its own purposes, so in that year, the chinese prime minister visited actually one of my research sites. he paid a visit to a very small, tiny, maker space, in shenzhen, and was so ennationallorred -- enamored and stipulated local governments to set up mass maker spaces, the literal translation, all over china that would be modeled every the tony maker space. -- tiny make space. you wonder why would the communist party of china endorse something that seems on first glance to opposing what we often think the chinese government to stand for, so we talked earlier about how making was committed
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to returning control and ownership of tech production to the people, how it was associated with kind of a counterculture idea to reinstate justice and using technology. why would prime minister of china endorse that project and scale it up to a national project. in the book i show how this particular appropriation of making by the ccp serves the government's broader interest at that time to reposition china as a forward-looking and innovative nation. so, most crucial live it's helped mobilize feelings of optimism, of positivity, of positive change, feelings that actually were associated with making, making a difference, intervening. so mobilized these feelings at a time when the chinese government feared social and political stability due to what is often
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described as its first -- china's first significant economic slowdown since opening reforms in the 1980s. and so when there's a new government basically positioned certain chinese maker spaces and certain makers as modelmakers, the government then also framed them as what you mike thing of as the right kind of prototypes. model citizens who would be able to build up china's indigenous innovation eeconomy -- a term that is heavily used under the current government to differentiate and present innovation in china as something very unique and different from the west. and this appropriation of making, i argue, the very project to build up china's indigenous innovation economy and also to redeem china on the global stage from as we talked about already from the backwards copycat producer to a nation
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known for being forward-looking, innovative, making optimistic futures and positioned the government itself as a kind of optimistic and benevolent peer, somebody invested in the people, in people's dreams and hopes for racial justice, and again, this sounds very different from these economies notions of the chinese government or the china authoritarian governance structure but i tried to show in the become that this particular appropriation of making shows how the chinese government governs select groups of its citizens via a promise of optimism, forward movement more typically associated with the tech industry. >> just to follow up on that, the last point you made, when
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you talk pout governing different groups, i'm curious, is there also a geographical difference in governing and in how this innovation was promoted throughout the country? obviously a lot of your work was done in shenzhen, and i tend -- i think all of us tend to assume these big tech innovation centers would be in major cities, but how did it play out in the second and third tier or smaller regions across the country. >> an excellent question. i cannot speak to the smaller second tier because i haven't done any research there per se, but what was very intriguing about the months following the 2015 policy on massmaker spaces was that people would tell me that all over the country, so-called mass maker pieces were
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set up within he days and weeks. people would talk about it and then here's the claim to be a maker space, or sort of a mall little shop would be a maker space. and what basically was unfolding is that the government wasn't really allocating any new resources for the spaces they've sort of the central government in beijing but they basically told regional governments, provincial level governments to use existing resources so set up the spaces or turn existing empty spaces with the leftover from the creative industry policies of the 2000s into these so-called mass maker spaces. and what was i think sort of what unfolded across different
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sites and regions in china was this gradual sort of like urban -- partially -- mostly urban transformation of pre-existing spaces into spaces with a different esthetic feel. a very concrete example, i spent a lot of my research in the electronic market of shenzhen, which is a place that a lot of the specifically the western makers when they came to shenzhen celebrate, there is where making is happening on a mass scale, global supply chain level, hacking and tinkering, not your garage type hacking. foreign makers celebrated the market like this would crystallize that potential of shenzhen, and what happened following around the time of the 2015 policies is these electronic marks would be slowly redesigned so was a make are
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space suddenly on the ground floor on a big market space, and the most storerooms were redesigned to have a feel and look of incubator or working space but part of the electronic market still looks the way they looked before, like chinese stores crammed together, migrant workers and families in between the vendor booths. so some of it remains the same and some was updated and upgraded and i argue the coexistence of the two models was quite deliberate, sort of seeing a space like a maker space or a coworker space, incubator space next to your booth, a worker in manufacturing industry would induce desires to belong to the space. i show in the book how these very per praisesive and nationwide -- pervasive and
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nationwide upgrades were aimed at inducing workers and engineers in plays leak the manufacturing industry, this desire to upgrade themselves, too, into entrepreneurs and makers who would fit the new spaces. >> so i think one of the biggest interventions you made and the biggest cbs of prototype nation is your discussion of gender and race dynamics in some of the -- how those dynamics played out in different sites you observed and how gender and race came into the discussions you had as you were conducting interviews for the book. so i think it would be great if you could talk about those dynamics for our audience, particularly your discussion of what you call happiness labor gets at these issues. so maybe talk about that. i found that really an interesting part of the book.
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>> yes. certainly. so with happiness labor which might sound like a strange and unfamiliar term at first to many people, i really intend to describe a form of labor that has become the norm in a range of these new organizational models of tech production that we just talked about. so think incubator spaces, make easterly spaces, coworker spaces. al a lot of these spaces rely on a form of happiness labor in order to sustain the kinds of precarious position of entrepreneurial life that celebrate, and so what does that many? why do i call is happiness lanor and why innovation spaces precarious, both things sound somewhat counterintuitive so let me explain with a story. in 2013 i was embedded in a silicon valley funded incubator that had set up shop in shenzhen in 2012,
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and this particular incubator was run by a group of very well-connected white men who had ties into the international tech investment and venture capital scene and these men had positioned this incue better in shenzhen as really scaling the prom mys of the make, movement as we talk about earlier, into something that would allow makers to embed themselves into china's global supply chain, into its factuallies and basically -- factories and imbedding yourself in these struck tours of industry production, the promise of the unincubater you can hack small prototypes and hack capitalism because you would be at the heart of it. that is how the incubator was
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pitching itselfing their socialist pitch, the intervening -- would be capitalist structures would be possible if the maker became entrepreneur in an embedded him or herself into the supply chain and factory places in china. during my time at the incubator i spent much time with the woman who were with me at the same time incubator, one was a female entrepreneur who was the only female entrepreneur admitted into the program and the female staff worker, and the female staff worker is -- was really hired to support what i could describe as kind of support to startup in living promise of hacking at scale. so they were hired, for instance to not only build partnership to factories to do cultural and language translation, but they also were hired to produce the
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particular kind of affect of entrepreneurial hacking, intervening on a large scale that so many people came to associate with shenzhen and the incubator had taken advantage of in towards to position itself so the female staffers job was to help guide the smartup through the emotional up ands downs of the labor. so when stress levels months the startups went up, she would organize fun leisure activities, she would organize factory tours, and so her job was really unlike the startups to stay in backgrounds, to stay in the brown -- the background and the startups well-being and i call ill happiness labor in the book. this work that goes into producing a feeling of cheerful
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delight and optimism in at the very moment that a lot of peoples i described earlier, begin doubting the promises of technology itself. this was a time when people began critiqueing the tech industry for complicity in rem carious structures of work, began critiqueing technology for its preproduction of racial injustice and sexism and this form of labor was crucial to maintain a sense of optimism in that moment when it became attacked and happiness labor you can think of quite similar to emotional labor but a much more specific form of work that is very specific these kinds on new organizational models of the tech incubator of the tech space
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and maker space and i want to stress because we often tend to think of labor exploitation as something when it comes to china that happens in the factory, and i really wanted to sort of open up our conversation on how we think of labor exploitation in the context of china. so the women in spaces like this -- i met many women in similar programs and similar conditions and chinese mensch and they were underpaid, at times paid less than the factory worker in the factory, right next door, and really challenges of to think about the very common understandings of what is labor exploitation where is takes it place and because we don't think of these so-called open innovation spaces as having nothing do with exploitation. we ten to think of them as
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fur-thinking, producing spaces and we tend to not look at exploitation that happens there and happiness labor tries to intervene in the conversation of, what is labor exploitation in the condition didn't context of the tech industry. people talk but uber-is a form of gig work and a form of labor exploitation but happiness labor suggests there is a form of exploitation thatsen -- theirs a professional class and elites that benefit and there's an underclass. realist an effort to speak to the most duplicity of exploitation of the work in the tech industry today. >> great. i know we want to allow some time for our audience to ask questions. 'll just ask you one final and then we can go to the audience q & a. the conversation, the idea of the maker movement giving participants a sense of agency,
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control, and a way for people to break through of the economic and social processeses that they didn't want to participate in, but in china of course there's also a political fours to be reckoned with. the chinese government has taken up innovation as a key word, and the chinese government does not generally take kindly to people trying to assert control or it tends to like to control things. so, how do you control innovation? how do you have this movement that celebrates disregard nor rules and a government that kind of wants to encourage it and wants to foster this sense of innovation and would like to appropriate some element of the movement but also wants to layer its own politics on top of it. how is the government trying to deal with all this and what are the conversations you had with people how they felt but the
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chinese communist party ticking up innovation and making and things like that. >> yeah. think it's fundamentally theburg is arguing that innovation is a type of control. aren't very obvious in terms of what we typically think of control and how it operates. think that is one big sort of argument of the book. in terms of how people reacted to the uptake of their ideals by the chinese government, in the book i put an emphasis on this very ambivalent feelings that were tied to this upcontinuing of -- by the chinese government. so one hand people had been really wanting to be heard, right, by both their own government and by western commentators who put -- continually portrayed china as
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lacking or just incapable to innovate and at the moment when foreign investors and the china government began indooring the idea, that felt exciting and there was this really exhilarate ed excitement of what would be possible. policy through changing education, allowing formal bottom-up approach. and people i worked closely with in china would often sort of critique educational structures in china. thankful lay story we have all the time. an interesting similarity there. but a lot of them hope that making would make the upcontinuing of making would also shift these structure -- societial structures around education, family relationships,
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right, and so at the same time there was excitement around that and what the upcontinuing of making promises and also am with lens of what it -- ambivalence what it meant to be tied to state structures, corporate structures or financial structures that might not always have the same shared values. so, in the bike talk about these very ambivalent feelings people were expressing about this upcontinuing. >> and something audience members may have heard of is the "made in china 2025" program. that's the one element that you talk about that has kind of come through into in the main stream american prez and talked about in news programs and so forth. so i'm just wondering if you have any comments on how that
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has -- how that program has developed and how anything you observed about it since you have finished the book, since it seems like sometimes it's really talked about and sometimes it kind of seems to be diminished a little bit in state media. >> made in china 2025 real sort of began alongside does a policy initiative began alongside the policy on the mapmaker spaces and coincided with initiatives around developing vote, policies and programs and made in china 2025 is really important to think through in relationship to how projects like -- and visions are data driven technology has
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begun to shape industries like manufacturing. in many ways the promise of scalemaking into something that would be more associated with entrepreneurship and innovation went hand in hand with endorsing things like dat driven products and filing patents or attracting investment for data driven products and valuing not per se the hard work but the data of those products would produce, but these kinds of -- had drastic impacts on how people began to think about how production itself should unfold and what it considered expertise and skill and engineering and production. so a lot of these recent efforts around the mind in china 2025 initiative hey to do with upgrading and inserting dat driven systems into the supply
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chain management themselves and manufacturing itself. so, what was really important in terms of the coinciding of the policies of the mapmaker space policy, made in 2025 and the voter initiative was i argue the mapmaker initiative was aimed at creating a social capital that would fuel the other two -- the implement tags of the other two initiatives, would provide the human skill set, entrepreneurial ininnovator skill set on a national level in tumors of upgrading automation and production and more global level in terms implement china's belt and road infrastructure and tech innovation projects. >> great. i think we want to give our audience members a chance to ask questions. if win has any to put in the q &
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a becomes. >> not many questions just yet toy want to remind our viewers to use the q & a feature at the top or bottom of the tool bar. if you head maybe a couple of questions that were on the cutting room floor that you want to ask, we can go to those and if we have some audience questions come through i'll jump back on to ask them. >> sure. silvia i'll ask you a very straightforward question. so, i hope people can see the cover of the book. can you talk about the photograph you chosing a the book conserve. keep trying to figure out the meanings behind it and am curious to hear the story. >> thank you for asking. it's a lovely story i think. so the book cover features an art piece by one of my favorite chinese artists. it's a work she did around her
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theory called who's utopia she began in 2008 and was photography series in factories in south of china, and i had actually stumbled across her work when i was a student and this was a time i was following some of the early chinese internet bloggers, people who were active in the electronic arts in china, and so she was one of the people who i had began following and taken an interest in her work, interesting work in second life at that time on a project called rnb city, and it was actually her who led me too toe one of my first research sites, the co-working space where i did a lot of work early on and was also the place where china's
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protective space was opened, and so her work was so meaningful in the beginning of my project, and in many way shed raised questions about -- in terms 0 the naming of the series, of that whole seasons the did in the south of china, the factory of who's awe utopia, who gets to live that promise of the so-called new china, the china that its utopian, perhaps, optimistic and he put that in questions so early on in 2008, much earlier than even i was thinking about the questions and as i was finish the book i returned to her artwork and was thinking built in overlap between her attempts into labor and racialized forms of labor exploitation i saw happening in these more entrepreneurial factory type conditions and she was exploring in the factory
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condition, and so i reach out to her and asked her if she would be open to having one of her paces, this factory worker dancer in one of the factories if should we be open to having it on the book cover and she said yes. so that's the story of the book cover. >> i do have a couple of questions we have time for both of. the. first, did you see much impact on china's innovation infrastructure because of trump trade policies and/or do you anticipate many changes as the biden administration's china policy emerges? >> those are two very big questions. so did i see trump policy having impact on innovation in china? i think for those who believed that discourse and words matter in terms of having concrete
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ramifications on decisionmaking but also material infrastructure, yes, certainly, trump's rhetoric and very anti-china rhetoric definitely had an impact in terms of how both policymakers, government officials, but also people in the tech industry, framed their own work and positioned their own work in many ways. i think this kind of question of what is this sort of -- desire to position china as just as ininnovatetive of the west, that hard ended with trump and the xi jinping rhetoric. happened that it intensified some of these divisions and some ways even enabled china, i think to position itself for its global belt and road initiative project to say we're going to do
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a better job than the west in our infrastructure projects in, for instance, africa, at least that's the rhetoric, that sort of chinese government rhetoric to say we'll do it differently and better and this antagonistic rhetoric by trump has had an impact on how china positions itself and the people in the tech industry position their work in china. so, in terms the biden administration, a lot of this is yet to be seen howe -- how it will unfold. we'll see less of the much more antagonistic framing, so i think there will be a return to the kind of at least an attempt to articulate this relationship more in terms of -- i don't want to say partnership but two
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global super powers that have to work together in these key press issues of climate change. the think we'll see that happening but diane tis pate that it will be very difficult for biden to undo some of these -- for the biden administration to undo some of this antagonistic feelings. >> thank you. the next question can you explain a bit more whether china can achieve the made in china 2025 project plan from either the policy or cultural perspective. >> okay. well, i also want to invite more actually to jump in here and answer some of the questions with me. it would be interesting to hear you perspective but with the previous question with the biden administration actually. the question was about how can -- will china achieve the made in china 2025 initiative,
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and i think in many ways already has done some of this work. i think when you look at what is happening with regards to re-organizing some of the manufacturing sites, that is already well underway. and in terms of repositioning manufacturing in chinese with regards to how it might serve not only national interests but global interests and has accomplished that project in some ways. the question who is is going to benefit? the same way we talked earlier about the history of shenzhen. didn't talk about the special economic zone, but made in china 2025 is also predicated on reinstalling or relegitimizing a
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future innovation economy. so how the government will articulate that with regard to its claims claims to reinstate e socialist commitments and that will be a big contradiction and challenge but i also want to invite -- do you want to comment on these questions? >> so i will very quickly jump in just on the previous one about how things might change from trump to biden, and i think one important -- sorry, missing -- something we should keep an eye on is what biden does with the department of justice's china initiative, which under president biden was really aggressively going after -- president trump was going after scientists in particular but researchers in the united states who had ties to china, who they were investigating them for perhaps
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not fully disclosing financial or institutional ties with institutions in china, and i think that was really putting a damper on this collaboration and engagement you need to foster the things we have been talking about this evening. when any chance of have -- when any tie to an educational or research institution in china could be potentially dangerous for an american scholar, that really hinders the sort of innovation and engagement i think the make are movement was founded on a decade ago or would have seen a lot more ten years ago, perhaps when you were doing your field work. so it's early in the bidens a norths see how that plays out but if the government stopped investigating researchers for having these institutional links that could perhaps lead to a
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resurgence or relaxation in attitudes towards collaboration with their counterparts in china. >> we have another question here. silvia thank you for this wonderful book and i love the book's cover, too much i'm curious how you see maker spaces and nation-beared ideologies changing in a covid landscape? we're seeing tech industries soar on the other hand precarious lab your is stale reality. do you have a sense for how covid is changing the dynamics for better or worse? >> well, i think the pandemic has made it in some ways more visible what is already there and has exacerbatessed it and i think of the covid and the
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pandemic a reminder what was more easily overlooked or not attempt to before the pandemic. so, i talked today about the promise of making and how to make a movement was really associated with kind of a promise to intervene and even precarious structures and yet a lot of the people who were critiquing the make are movement, even as it was still unfolding, war people who felt they were excluded from it and then it was reproducing the same kind of structures of tech production all over again. right? and i think what was most interesting about the maker movement is this critique happened early on and that panel actually had to grapple with it and had to think it through, but i don't think the maker movement
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per se was really -- i show this in the book -- was really aim at creating anything like socialism. so, a lot of this was really sort of in -- you could think of this -- the earlier articulations of powerful actors so-ed with the maker movement, how they attempted to recuperate the area promise of technological production, and so rather than changing perhaps the more systemic issues that were underneath the various forms of exploitation, and so i think covid in that sense is not this -- the pandemic isn't what suddenly creates precarious work in the tech industry. makes its more visible what has
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been there all along. the same way that attending to sites of labor, for instance, as i was talking about, happiness labor, we intend to use forms of labor, we can also see how truck tours of ine -- struck tours of inequality exist in paces that are celebrated for the supposed equality of peer production and i think the pandemic is another sort of vehicle to make these things much more visible, and of course it has intensified inequality in addition to making it visible. >> thank you. we have reached the top of the hour so i think it's time to let you both go, so silvia, thank you for joining us tonight with literati. so thrilled to have your virtually. so cop grates on prototype
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nation and to viewers thank you for joining us as well. stay safe and be well and we look forward to seeing you the next event. until then have the a great weekend and take care, and good night, al. ...


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