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Category: Digital Society

Society 5.0

Today was voting day in Brazil, municipal election. In a country with ID, work record booklet in paper and driver licenses is a paper, yes, I said paper. [see picture below for demonstration]

Although, the paper ID, Brazil started in 2019 with electronic work record by app and this year the voter ID became electronic an app also. An app where you can find your social security number, ID, residence information, and picture. Using a QR Code to vote and to present in the vote station 

Just to make clear and give some context, vote in Brazil is mandatory from 18 to 70 years old, and as I am in Edinburgh, I need to inform that I am not voting and why. 

Between reading the articles for this week classes, I downloaded the app and started the new digital process to have my voter ID. The app it is super simple, I included my social security number and all my information came through, I started the process of “no vote justification”, as it can be an “issue” not to justify your absence, during the process and my mother sharing with me her experience voting, using a QR code, and to have her information in an app, I thought about society 5.0 concept that was brought by Japan in 2016. 

Society 5.0 is “is the intersection and high convergence between cyberspace (virtual space) and physical space (real space), in a technology human-centred society”, by Yuko Harayama. Executive Member, Council for Science, Technology and Innovation (CSTI), Cabinet Office of Japan. 

The Prime Minister’s Office of Japan in 2018 launch a campaign about the Society 5.0: 

Therefore, the other country that came in mind was Estonia, the digital republic, a Named ‘the most advanced digital society in the world’ by Wired, Estonia has built an efficient, secure and transparent ecosystem where 99% of governmental services are online”.

Supposing Brazil is going towards the society 5.0 directions, I realized that we have 11.3 million illiterate and 38 million functional illiterates, and to know to forget about the “Invisibles”. The 46 million individuals that do not appear on any Government ‘socio digital list’ in Brazil.

There is not a lot of academic work on that population, I brought the numbers by the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics on the illiterate and about the “Invisibles” you can find some articles, but nothing too deep or from the academic world. Although, the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics, does not reach all Brazilian population, and it was informed by the institute before. To be honest, the slums are not a priority or even the caatinga, a type of desert vegetation that you can find in the northeastern part of the country, and there are thousands of families living there.

I started to think on how a country with almost half of the population that don’t have digital access, because they are “Invisibles” or even by the illiterate rate, will be part of Society 5.0? Who wasn’t part of that digital transformation that happened in the voting process today in Brazil?

Those questions still in my mind without answers.


e-Estonia, Government site:

Harayama, Yuko. Executive Member, Council for Science, Technology and Innovation (CSTI), Cabinet Office of Japan:

Heller, Nathan. The New Yorker, Estonia, the Digital Republic:

Social media as a non-human actor

The society was always a mix of the actions of human-human, object-object and human-objects, interactions. In this digital transformation we are going through, non-human actors are even more constantly becoming actors and important piece in the social transformation that digital technologies are creating and have impact on social structures.

There are countless non-human actors as we are suffering the shift and impact of digital transformation. I always talk about digital transformation, but never explained what it means. So, digital transformation can be described as the process of using digital technologies, such as smartphones, Ipad, tablets, computers, digital platforms such as Uber, Deliveroo, social media, also, including AI aspects, blockchain, IoT and other. All to create and modify existing cultural and social processes, not forget about business.

Maybe, COVID-19 accelerated this process, as we are changing how we interact in society, sell, buy, study and work, as everything shifted in a fast way to digital technologies.

In 2020 social media played as a non-human actor in the digital society, being the platform and vehicle for the Black Lives Matters1 movement to grow and impacting not only the US, but black people in all over the world. The hashtag #BlackLibesMatters, surpassed 1 Million of daily use and moved institutions and private organizations in the US and other black diasporas, to step up against racism and brutality in the black community.

We are dying for years and people are seeing that and acting as it is normal. In Brazil every 23 minutes a black person is killed, black women have the highest rate of domestic violence and mistreatment during medical procedures. Those numbers are not a country reality, we had George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Miguel Otávio and several others.

The non-human here, social media, played a major role in the spread of the movement, and we can think if we did not have social media?!

The Haiti Revolution, is an example, of a historical moment, movement that spread, but lost force in the black diaspora, but were for several moments a concern for countries that still in the slavery traffic. Just for a moment, think about a revolution like that with a non-human actor as social media, or other digital technology.

I still thinking about the possibilities and impact…

Although, we have the opportunity to use those non-human actors for change, so, let’s see how strong it can be.



1The Black Lives Matter movement was created in July 2013 in the United States of America by the Black community campaigning against racism and discrimination. The movement was sparked by the murder of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in February 26, 2012, and the acquittal the following year of his killer, George Zimmerman, who fatally shot him.  (Badaoui, Saad 2020)


Badaoui, Saad. Oct 2020, Black lives Matter: A New perspective from Twitter data mining

Latour, Bruno. 2004, Nonhumans – Pages 224-227 in Patterned Ground: Entanglements of Nature and Culture, edited by S. Harrison, S. Pile and N. Thrift. London: Reaction Books

Garrigus, John D, 2011. Vincent Ogé Jeune (1757–91): Social Class and Free Colored Mobilization on the Eve of the Haitian Revolution in The Americas.


Coded Bias by Joy Buolamwini

As part of my journey in the university and the digital sociological conversation, we to watch Coded Bias by Joy Buolamwini. 

Joy Boulamwini is not new for me, while I worked in tech and had projects focused on bringing more black people to the tech environment, I start to research about black in tech and what were the impacts black people were making in the industry. 

I found a lot of exciting information, and I discovered that Nas [an American rapper, well known by his first and most incredible hip hop creation, the Illmatic] invests in tech through the Queensbridge Enterprise. 

Yes, I found the connection I wanted! 

In the same research, I found the incredible Joy and her way of tech talk bring symbolism to her narrative and MIT tech kind of conversation. 

Coded Bias, It is a documentary that approaches tech, but also in a symbolic way for black people. A scene that impacted me in such different forms was, see a black woman braiding her hair [Joy is in a hair salon] while she is talking about her journey at MIT, it is symbolic on another level. She brought poetry, rap, tech, race conversation, colourism, access to different worlds, and connection, all that in a documentary. 

Also, the documentary brings information about the Dartmouth Summer Research Project in the ’50s, a moment that was crucial for the “foundation” of AI as a field. Talks about the “1984, George Orwell” book, China Social credit score, bringing the big tech players in AI and their role in it. Also brings the US and the UK, country approach on face recognition. 

It is a must to watch! 


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