Payal Arora_credit-geertje-van-achterberg

Payal Arora: Let the next billion users play games and watch porn

Dr. Payal Arora is a professor and anthropologist researching digitalization in poor, non-western communities.

The co—matter podcast 033 | January 06, 2020

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She's the author of "The Next Billion Users - Digital Life Beyond the West" (published by Harvard University Press) where she examines the online lives of millions of people in China, India, Brazil, and across the Middle East.

Payals thesis: what the so-called "next billion users" are doing on the Internet is not what we imagine. People in these countries love playing games, watching porn and cat videos, just like we do.

So will the next billion users shape the Internet at all? We sat down with Payal to find out about:

  • The Next Billion Users on the Internet: why they matter, what they do and why Western communities haven't made a genuine effort to understand their needs.

  • The power of PornHub in bringing people online, Facebook as "the Internet" for millions, WhatsApp as a political space and the role of Google Translate as a key technology for virtual romances.

  • How cultural differences impact the way we use technology, seek belonging and create our identities.

Follow Payal at @3Lmantra on Twitter. Buy her book "The Next Billion Users - Digital Life Beyond the West" at a book store of your choice.

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Last updated: December 1, 2021 ■ 11:00am