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Oak Ritchie has been invited be a panelist around his graduate research topic, “Platform Algorithms and their Effect on Civic and Political Arenas at the Association for Bahá’í Studies Conference in Montreal, Canada, August 10th-14th, 2016.

Oak Ritchie
Oak Ritchie, Public Communications Specialist, UNC School of Social Medicine, The Center for Health Equity Research & Center for Bioethics


How do technologies shape human values, perceptions, and behaviors? How does humanity start to make more conscious choices, informed by the application of spiritual principles, about the path of technological innovation and adoption? Audience members who are interested in contributing to this learning process over time are invited to a follow-up session to consult about next steps.

New insights reveal that social and communication technologies impact the quality of our relationships with each other, provide us with constant stimulation and constrain our perceptions along relative interests and experiences. Because social technologies meet both material and spiritual needs they can act as either a platform for social action or lend to self-serving desires and hopes for the future. We as individuals have the responsibility to consciously evaluate our use of technology, our motivations, and the impact of adoption and engagement. Truthful self reflection empowers individuals to make informed decisions about the adoption of technology and how it will impact their lives.

It can also add to a growing dialogue about the use and development of technology, and how we can promote technology for more powerful applications besides the self, such as creating social action in order to unite and build an ever advancing society. The panel will include Brian Kempf, Oak Ritchie, Bahareh Adamiardestani, & Ashiyan Rahmani, who will discuss the following subjects:

  • Platform algorithms and their effect on civil and political arenas – Oak Ritchie
  • Technology’s impact on how we understand intimacy and human relationships – Brian Kempf &  Bahareh Adamiardestani
  • Communication for international development – Ashiyan Rahmani