Alexis Karkotis

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Alexis Karkotis
Alexis Karkotis
Period at FWC July 2015 - December 2015
Field of Study Working at the crossroads of Ecology, Social Anthropology and Emerging Technologies with a special focus on Indigenous rights and self-determinations.
Involvement at FWC Reinventing Democracy Project



Alexis Karkotis is a Visiting Scientist at Future World Center and an Assistant Coordinator at the Reinventing Democracy in the Digital Era Project. He is responsible for coordinating the Indigenous Communities Initiative within the Reinventing Democracy Project.

Alexis is an Independent Researcher in the fields of Anthropology, Emerging Technologies and Ecology. He graduated in 2006 from Arizona State University with a BA in Anthropology and BSc in Ecology and moved on to the University of Bristol where he completed his PhD in Social Anthropology.

For his doctorate research he conducted three years of ethnographic fieldwork research amongst the Ngöbe-Bugle indigenous people in Panama in a small community along the Krikamola River deep within the Ngöbe-Bugle Comarca (Semi-Autonomous Territory). In his thesis he focused on formation of concentrated communities, politicisation and resistance against large scale developmental projects, transition from polygamy to monogamy, animism and material culture practices. In 2013 he returned to the Ngöbe-Bugle Comarca with a grant from the Smithsonian Institute to explore ‘The Adoption and Use of Digital Tools Amongst the Ngöbe’ which introduced him to the accelerated field of Digital Humanities. Thereafter he begun collaborating with BornAnIdea Lab, a London based future-facing multi-disciplinary design lab where he was responsible for setting up the Incubator Section, the foresight section of Lab. In collaboration with like minded people from an array of disciplines he immersed himself in exploring projected timelines of future events, disseminating - via ethnographic fiction and design speculations - the plausible, probable and possible {as well as disturbing and provocative} socio-cultural impacts of emerging technologies 10, 20, 30, 40 {and even 300 years} from now.

His current international multi-disciplinary work combines his knowledge of ecology and expertise on indigenous cultures with emerging technologies and digital cultures. His latest co-authored journal article due to be published by National Taipei University of Technology explores the notion of 'Cultural Robotics', arguing that designers, artists and engineers should work closely with ethnographers and social scientists so that the production of robotic technologies takes into consideration cultural differences and promotes local knowledge. In a recent published co-authored article it was argued that robot design and manufacture should take inspiration from indigenous material culture so that its production becomes a meaningful venture rooted on the household level.

Alexi has lived, worked an travelled in numerous countries around the world. In 2014 he moved to India for one year where he immersed himself in exploring the culture, learning Hindi, practicing Yoga & Tai-Chi, writing articles for peer review as well ethnographic science-fictions, building his personal future oriented website and editing a documentary based on the Ngöbe struggle for self-determination from footages he gathered in 2013.

In his work with FWC he is determined to secure the participation of indigenous people from different cultures from around the world in Structured Democratic Dialogues. Very often the members of Indigenous groups display a peaceful and egalitarian social structure and symmetry while actively maintaining asynchronous and highly democratic political practices. Numerous Indigenous Societies can thus serve as practical democratic models. Offering SDD platforms to indigenous people, both on the intra-group and trans-group dimension would constitute a political cartography that has not been explored yet.



Relevant projects

  • Reinventing democracy
  • Indigenous Communities Initiative