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Centre for Digital Tools and Social Transformation

Technology and social transformation

Technology has the power to do many things, and we are privileged to be living in a time where technological innovations can assist us, make our lives easier and rethink the ways we go about our daily lives.

However, over the past century or so, a pattern seems to have emerged of identifying a problem (social, medical, economic, political, or other), seeking a technological solution, and ignoring early signs of new problems such solutions might create. These proliferating inventions are being resigned to the inevitability of accepting such problems and recursing for each new problem by seeking more technological solutions for each

To put it simply, we use technology to solve a problem and, in the process, create new problems, to which we attempt to apply technology to solve it again. It’s a cycle that is hard to break without approaching our technological problem-solving in a more meaningful, thoughtful, and human-centred way.

DigiToST lab

The Centre for Digital Tools and Social Transformation – DigiToST – is an interdisciplinary, multi-institutional research lab at the British Columbia Institute of Technology in conjunction with undergraduate and graduate students at UBC, UVic, SFU and BCIT, and community partners in education and public health. The disciplines range from public health to education to social sciences to engineering and computing systems.

Overarching research questions

DigiToST is a space for exchanging thought and ideas, for collaboration – both academic and with communities and organizations – on knowledge generation, and for disseminating and applying findings. The emphasis is on action research and applied research.

Our overarching questions are:

  • Are we designing technology in a way that supports the world we all want to live in?
  •  What could be alternative approaches to innovation in a technologically sophisticated world?

Learn more about our research