Networks: Dr Ben Collier

Episode 4


Season 2

15th December 2021 | Dr Ben Collier | 38:40

We used to say look at the stars to feel how small you are, today we need just look at our phones. As we type into them the network pulses and our secrets are hoarded by the algorithm. We must ask, are we human or are we data?

Dr Ben Collier, Lecturer in Digital Methods at the University of Edinburgh, has spent the last couple of years looking intently at how our governments and police are using online tactics to nudge and influence us as we surf the internet.

From sophisticated fire safety messages being targeted at smart speakers in people’s homes, to online adverts warning would-be teenage hackers that the DDoS attack they are planning is illegal, the creeping influence of these institutions is giving rising cause for concern.

Who is scrutinising these campaigns and could they unintentionally be doing more harm than good?

These are all questions our guest Ben and host Ali Fraser delve into in this episode of Just Humans.

Here’s Ben’s paper which he co-wrote with Dr Gemma Flynn, Dr James Stewart and Dr Daniel R. Thomas. https://bit.ly/31WPlQl

Ben and Daniel also presented this SCCJR Seminar on the paper which you can watch on SCCJR’s YouTube. 

The Home Office audio clip featured in this episode came from the Digital Campaigning Essentials podcast published in May 2020.

Hosted by Dr Alistair Fraser, Director of the Scottish Centre for Crime and Justice Research (SCCJR).

Produced & Edited by Rachelle Cobain, Communications Officer at SCCJR.

Music: ‘Rewind’ by Donna Maciocia and Sean H available to download from the Distant Voices EP ‘Looking at Colours Again’.

Visit our website: www.sccjr.ac.uk or follow us on Twitter @TheSCCJR

Other Season 2 episodes

20th April 2022

Just Talk: Is there life after state punishment?

BONUS EPISODE 'Is there life after state punishment?' with Fergus McNeill, Marguerite Schinkel, Reuben Jonathan Miller and Shadd Maruna.

8th December 2021

Work: Dr Hannah Graham

Some of us have started to return to the office and in doing so we are relearning how to connect with our colleagues and professional networks.

30th November 2021

Friends: Dr Lisa Bradley and Dr Nughmana Mirza

SCCJR besties Lisa and Nughmana first met when doing their PhD's at the University of Glasgow and soon found they had a lot in common; their research interests, having busy home lives with young kids, wanting to do academia differently and a shared love of chatting over cake and coffee.

24th November 2021

Family: Dr Cara Jardine

Our colleague, or should that be 'sister' of SCCJR, Dr Cara Jardine, Senior Lecturer at the University of Strathclyde, joins our host Ali Fraser to help kick off Season 2 of the Just Humans podcast.