Thursday, 26 November 2020

New Op-ed in Globe & Mail newspaper: "Ottawa’s post-hoc privacy plan still leaves the power with Big Tech"

I have another op-ed in the Globe & Mail newspaper. It came out on Friday last week and is about Canada's new Digital Charter Implementation Act 2020, which was published on 17th November. It's called "Ottawa’s post-hoc privacy plan still leaves the power with Big Tech":

"For many people, the digital economy – especially the promise of automated decision-making systems powered by artificial intelligence (AI) – will solve all sorts of social and political problems, from rising health care costs to the spread of misinformation. And yet, regulation of digital technologies, personal data and AI are almost always framed by their commercial applications; they’re rarely considered an issue for collective societal decision-making".

The rest can be read here.


Thursday, 29 October 2020

"Managed Spaces" by the Ideal Spaces Podcast

I was interviewed by Ulrich Gehmann, Michael Johansson, and Flora Loughridge for the Ideal Spaces Podcast on the topic of "Managed Spaces" (Episode 2). It covered topics like the assetization of housing, neoliberalism, digital capitalism, and more.

Seems like I say "um" and "er" a lot when I'm talking!

Can be listened to here.

Wednesday, 21 October 2020

Call for Papers - SaC Forum on "Big Tech"

Science as Culture (SaC) Forum on “Big Tech” 

Forum Editor: Kean Birch

Big Tech is in the spotlight. Usually defined as Apple, Amazon, Microsoft, Google/Alphabet, and Facebook, “Big Tech” has become a watchword for corporate surveillance, monopoly, and market power. Arguably, they are the defining institutions of our day, dominating our political economies, societies, and polities as Big Oil or Big Banks did in their time. Criticism of Big Tech is increasingly evident as well, cutting across popular books, academic work, film, and journalism: examples include, Shoshana Zuboff’s 2019 book The Age of Surveillance Capitalism; recent documentaries like Social Dilemma and Agents of Chaos; and regular column inches in print media like the Financial Times and The Economist, this being particularly notable as these two are intellectual bastions of capitalism. Furthermore, Big Tech has been the subject of critical political investigations, like the recent US Congressional Hearings on Online Platforms and Market Power, or the International Grand Committee on Big Data, Privacy and Democracy.  

Although Big Tech is facing the glare of negative publicity, there is a notable absence of discussion about it in science and technology studies (STS), with some exceptions (e.g. Birch et al. 2020a, 2020b; Fourcade and Kluttz 2020; Geiger 2020; Sadowski 2020). Cognate fields – like information science, communication studies, law, algorithm or data studies, and so forth – have engaged with particular aspects of Big Tech or its antecedents (e.g. Gillespie 2014; Pasquale 2015; Roseblat and Stark 2016; O’Neil 2017; Noble 2018). For example, in analyses of how digital platforms and technologies reinforce social discrimination or disrupt political process.  

Tuesday, 20 October 2020

3rd Op-ed in Toronto Star newspaper: "This is how Canada should deal with Big Tech"

I had another oped in Toronto Star newspaper last week, again about final findings and report produced from the US Congressional Hearing on Antitrust and 'Big Tech'. My oped is specifically about how Canada should deal with the problems arising from Big Tech, "This is how Canada should deal with Big Tech". Here it is:

 "Big Tech was in the policy spotlight again recently with another U.S. Congressional hearing on Oct. 1, this time focused on 'Proposals to Strengthen the Antitrust Laws and Restore Competition Online.'"

You can read the rest of it here.

Monday, 10 August 2020

2nd Op-ed in Toronto Star newspaper: "What can Canada learn from the US Congressional hearing on Big Tech monopolies?"

I've got another oped in the Toronto Star newspaper today. It's about the US Congressional Hearing on Antitrust and 'Big Tech', which was held on 29th July 2020 and is well worth a watch to see politicians grilling the CEOs of Facebook, Google, Apple, and Amazon. The title of my oped is, "What can Canada learn from the U.S. Congressional hearing on Big Tech monopolies?". Here it is:

"In late July, the U.S. Congressional Subcommittee on Antitrust held an important hearing on the monopolistic power of Big Tech — Apple, Amazon, Facebook and Google. I recommend watching the hearing; it’s long but worth it if you want insight into what we need to do to avoid damaging our economy and society further.".
Read the rest here.

Monday, 30 March 2020

New book! "Assetization - Turning Things into Assets in Technoscientific Capitalism"

Fabian Muniesa and I have a new co-edited book out from MIT Press in the next few months. It's full of awesome research by people as obsessed with assets as I am - well, maybe not as obsessed! It'll be open access, which is great for a book as well. See here for more details.

We now have a nice, cool cover too!


Assetization

Monday, 20 January 2020

Op-ed in Toronto Star newspaper

Here's my first oped in the Toronto Star newspaper, one of Canada's best selling dailies. My piece is largely a response to an article by Gillian Hadfield - see here - in which she promotes the notion of 'agile governance' as a way to regulate artificial intelligence; hence my title, which was actually changed from what I originally wanted it to be "Canada needs an FDA for artificial intelligence, not more ‘agile’ governance". Here it is:
"Imagine the following scenario: I’ve invented a new pharmaceutical drug; I think I know its benefits after clandestinely testing its effects using people’s health records; but I can’t say for sure as I’ve not been required to meet any safety criteria".
Read the rest here.