by Scott Corfe
The First Industrial Revolution saw water and steam used to power and mechanise production. The Second used electric power to create mass production. The Third used electronics and information technology to automate production.
The Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) is building on the Third, the digital revolution that has been occurring since the middle of the last century. It is characterised by a fusion of technologies that is blurring the lines between the physical, digital, and biological spheres. These technologies include artificial intelligence, big data, machine learning and “the internet of things” which is seeing an increasing proportion of household and business appliances connected to the internet. Continue reading
by Martin Moore
We are at a peculiar moment when governments – democratic and authoritarian alike – are itching to regulate and legislate the major tech platforms. In the UK in April, Jeremy Hunt gave an ultimatum to social media to better protect children or face new laws.
His threat followed similar ones by Matt Hancock, Theresa May, and before her David Cameron. And, in the same month as Hunt’s ultimatum, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg was hauled in front of Congress for two days of questioning. “Congress is good at two things” Republican Senator Billy Long said then, “doing nothing, and overreacting. So far, we’ve done nothing on Facebook… [now] We’re getting ready to overreact.” Continue reading
Marina Jirotka is Professor of Human Centred Computing, Associate Director of the Oxford e-Research Centre and Associate Researcher of the Oxford Internet Institute.
Helena Webb is a senior researcher in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Oxford.
Here they consider what can be done by government and social media platforms to tackle the problem of fake news.
As campaigning in the UK General Election gained momentum in April 2017, the Chairman of the Government’s Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee called for Facebook to improve its handling of fake news on the platform. Referencing concerns that the spread of false stories across social media had influenced the results of the 2016 US Presidential election, Damian Collins MP suggested that the propagation of content of this kind could threaten the ‘integrity of democracy’. Continue reading
Sabine Hauert is Lecturer in Robotics at the University of Bristol, and the Bristol Robotics Laboratory. She’s also the President and co-founder of Robohub.org.
Robots hold the potential to improve the way we work, live, and explore new frontiers. But their success will depend on our ability to dehype the technology so that we can have a meaningful discussion about how the benefits will be shared by all. Continue reading
This week we launched our new ESRC website, alongside a new standalone site for our archived Research Catalogue.
Our last website revamp was in 2011, and this time we have harmonised with our sister councils so that we are all now on the same platform.
Here’s a nostalgic look back at some of the previous versions of the ESRC website from 1998, 2007, 2009 and 2015…