Phil Howard discusses civic engagement, bots, and the Internet of things (IoT). Phil will present his latest research and ask for advice on what to do next. His new book is Pax Technica: How the Internet of Things May Set Us Free or Lock Us Up, and it is about the impact of IoT on civic engagement. The next project is a large 5-year research effort on “computational propaganda” supported by the European Research Council. Social media can have an impressive impact on civic engagement and political discourse. Yet increasingly we find political actors using digital media and automated scripts for social control. Computational propaganda — through bots, botnets, and algorithms — has become one of the most concerning political impacts of technology innovation. If overtly political bots are a threat to public life, what should be on our research agenda for the next five years?
Recorded by Data & Society Research Institute. Databites are Data & Society’s weekly lunch conversations focused on unresolved questions and timely topics of interest to our community. Intro and outro music tracks by Podington Bear: The Sound of Picture Production Library (soundofpicture.com).
About the speakers