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Credit: Umberto for Unsplash

From emerging tech to the future of work, our team present their top recommendations from the last year to read and watch over the holidays.

Our team are exploring how we can ensure that the technology we use today, benefits all of us now and in the future. Here are their top picks from the last 12 months on digital tech and society:


Data Driven by Karen Levy

Gina Neff, Executive Director:

“In the hype about AI and work, people often miss how new technologies will change jobs in existing industries. Not Levy. She has delivered a brilliant and chilling look at what the future of work might hold by drilling down into the lives of long-haul truckers. A must read!”


System Error: Where Big Tech Went Wrong and How We Can Reboot by Rob Reich, Mehran Sahami, Jeremy M. Weinstein

John Naughton, Chair of Advisory Board:

“A revelatory account of the obsession with efficiency and optimisation that underpins the tech industry.”


Cybernetic Forests by Eryk Salvaggio

Louise Hickman, Research Associate:

“Cybernetic Forests is a weekly newsletter by Eryk Salvaggio. His newsletters explore emerging technologies through a critically engaged lens, I have enjoyed his thoughtful essays on Toward a Situationist Blockchain, and The Prompt is an Event (focusing on OpenAI’s DALLE-2).”


Social Quitting by Cory Doctorow

Julia Rone, Research Associate:

“2022 was a tumultuous year for social media with Elon Musk taking over Twitter and Mark Zuckerberg making a gamble with the Metaverse. The rumours of the death of these big social media platforms are exaggerated but still Cory Doctorow’s piece provides an interesting commentary on the dynamics of “social quitting” and switching platforms. Something to look out for in 2023.”


Meet Ai-Da, the First Robot to Speak Before UK Parliament

Hunter Vaughan, Senior Research Associate:

“On 12 October 2022 Ai-Da became the first robot to speak to British Parliament, “providing evidence but…not a witness in its own right” according to Tina Stowell, chair of the House of Lords Communications and Digital Committee before which the AI artist appeared. Fascinating from a critical perspective for the purpose and design of the robot, as well as the terrifying and justice-threatening precedent set by its giving non-witness algorithmic evidence for a governmental committee, Ai-Da had to be rebooted after shutting down mid-testimony, and offered the ever ominous and tech-forgiving maxim: “technology can be both a threat and an opportunity for artists.””


Neptune Frost

Hugo Leal, Research Associate:

“Neptune Frost is a dazzling critical reflection over the limits of capitalist exploitation and the possibilities of personal and collective emancipation. Shot in Rwanda and set in a future alter-Burundi, the film portrays the oneiric and non-linear journey of Neptune, an intersex outcast, and Matalusa, a runaway coltan miner turned leader of a hacking collective. They meet in “Digitaria”, an e-waste site, and join forces to resist the “Authority”, the repressive power that perpetuates mineral exploration and labour exploitation. Saul Williams and Anisia Uzeyman present us with an afrofuturist, cyberpunk, musical that takes on vital topics, such as racism, sexism, neo-colonialism, and the environmental disaster brought about by a technology obsessed world. In both form and content…a masterpiece.”