The E-Volution of Democracy

Demos is Britain’s leading cross-party think tank. During his presentation at the IFA+ Summit, Carl Miller, Research Director, Centre for the Analysis of Social Media at Demos, focused on his attempts to track down and expose one of the most important things that shapes, guides and limits each of our lives: power.

A new, digital form of power has chipped away at the old, familiar places where power used to sit; scaring CEOs, forcing politicians to resign, swallowing up newspapers, eclipsing experts, and pulling down companies. But as it rips down traditional centres of power, it has redistributed it in new, mysterious ways. How is it controlling us? And how can we use it?

How important is social media becoming, and why? 

People getting married online, students studying without ever opening a book, YouTube stars strutting down the red carpet, newspapers going bust whilst Facebook grows larger than China. The gap between digital life, and just life, is fast collapsing.

What are the biggest problems/ issues to be overcome at the moment, and how do you feel they may be fixed? 

The biggest problem is that tech is moving so quickly, it is outstripping the things that we have developed to civilise social life – law, morals, and norms.

Where do you see this all going in five to ten years? 

It is impossible to say. Digital technology is improving at an exponential rate and nobody needs to ask permission to do something new that uses the Internet.

What kind of people should come to your talk? 

Whether you like technology or hate it, use it or avoid it, you can’t escape it. Technology is weaving its way through all of our lives, whether we like it or not. We might not want to embrace the future, but we can all step into it and be a little more aware of what it’s doing to us.

Hall 26b
5 September 2017 – 3:00pm – 4:00pm

Photo : Carl Miller, Research Director, Centre for the Analysis of Social Media, Demos