“I use ‘disruptive’ in both its good and bad connotations. Disruptive scientific and technological progress is not to me inherently good or inherently evil. But its arc is for us to shape. Technology’s progress is furthermore in my judgment unstoppable. But it is quite incorrect that it unfolds inexorably according to its own internal logic and the laws of nature.”
Zara Rahman is a Berlin-based researcher, writer, and linguist who is interested in the intersection of power, technology and people. Her past work has included campaigning for an access to information law in Spain, investigating the use and availability of open data in the extractive industries in the Middle East, and supporting data literacy efforts with civil society and journalists across the world with School of Data.
In 2015, she co-hosted a podcast exploring issues around colonialism and technology, and she was a 2016/17 fellow at Data & Society based in NYC, where she worked on creative and artistic ways of boosting critical data and tech literacy. She is a regular contributor to Global Voices, where she writes about technology and digital rights in Bangladesh.
She currently works at international non-profit organisation The Engine Room, where she has carried out research on use of technology tools for documenting human rights violations, looked into digital security needs of civil society, and supported the growth of the Responsible Data community. As part of a fantastic team, she supports The Engine Room's efforts at strengthening the effective use of technology in civil society, particularly thinking about how complex ideas can be explained in clear and simple ways, and exploring creative ways to engage new audiences around the role of technology in society.