Smart Technology


The Age of Algorithms

Some describe the current internet era as the third technological revolution. The Internet and personal devices are changing the products companies sell, how companies’ are run and even who owns them. Advancements in artificial intelligence and the emergence of the Internet of Things suggest that the revolution is not even close to its peak.

Solutions previously seen only in sci-fi movies are increasingly becoming everyday objects, and software and algorithms are becoming more and more prevalent in all areas of life. This raises a variety of issues from basic ethics through to psychological impact on people and their lives, and we do not yet fully understand the consequences of a world that most people lack the knowledge to understand, let alone shape.

We don’t just need technologists to shape this new world of smart tech, but also designers, sociologists, anthropologists and other disciplines. How can we empower people to retain some control over the technology that is shaping their lives and their work in an increasing number of ways?

Example reseach briefs

  • Opinionated software

    What does the rise of opinionated software mean for technology? Can software ever be neutral?

  • Algorithmic morality

    How should we write algorithms with ethical questions mind? What are the tradeoffs in algorithmic morality, and what does it mean if we allow software systems to make moral decisions on our behalf?

  • Agency and understanding

    How can ordinary people retain some level of agency in a world dominated by software they cannot change or understand? What does this mean for concepts of ownership, control and fair use?

  • Skills gap

    What influence does smart technology have on organisations and the individuals that populate them, and how does the growing gap in understanding and skills between management and engineers impact on strategy and oversight?