10 episodes

Do you want to understand how various technologies might impact society? Enjoy Alice Thwaite and some heavyweight guests talk about the biggest issues. This is a light-hearted podcast which makes simple some of the most complicated subjects in technology regulation and ethics. And yes, we know that anyone who rhapsodises about politics, society and technology is a bit of a triple A tw*t. So that's what we called ourselves. Join us!

Talking With Alice About Tech Sh** [TWAAATS] Alice Thwaite and Guests

    • Technology

Do you want to understand how various technologies might impact society? Enjoy Alice Thwaite and some heavyweight guests talk about the biggest issues. This is a light-hearted podcast which makes simple some of the most complicated subjects in technology regulation and ethics. And yes, we know that anyone who rhapsodises about politics, society and technology is a bit of a triple A tw*t. So that's what we called ourselves. Join us!

    Women in Tech

    Women in Tech

    Only 18% of tech roles are held by women in 2019. Has anything changed for women working in the industry in a post #MeToo era? I’m joined by Abadesi Osunsade and Jo Kerr to discuss what it is like to work and commentate on tech.
    These are two wonderful women. Abadesi is the founder of Hustle Crew, NonTechTech, co-host of Techish podcast and the author of new careers advice book, “Dream Big Hustle Hard: A Millennial Woman’s Guide to Success in Tech”. Jo is a consultant for charities and non-profits who want to change how they work through digital.
    Links to ideas mentioned in the podcast
    Safiya Noble – Algorithms of Oppression – a fantastic book on a lack of diversity in tech and the consequences of this.
    A new study finds a potential risk with self-driving cars: failure to detect dark-skinned pedestrians – by Vox
    Send us messages
    You can contact Abadesi on Twitter here and Jo on Twitter here. I am on Twitter @alicelthwaite and my email is alice [at] twaaats [dot] com.
     

    • 45 min
    The Ethics of Payments

    The Ethics of Payments

    Paying for basic goods and services is very different now to even 6 years ago. We can pay via contactless payments and our mobiles. We shop online and mainly use debit and credit cards to do this. Even market stalls carry devices for taking card payments and the high street is going cash free. But what does this mean for our society? Have you thought about the ethics of payments and the new structures which are gaining power?
    Joining me, Alice Thwaite, for this episode are Brett Scott and Jo Kerr. Brett Scott is an author, journalist and financial campaigner. He is the author of The Heretic’s Guide to Global Finance: Hacking the Future of Money, and collaborates with a wide range of groups on monetary systems, banking reform, alternative currencies, financial activism, digital finance, blockchain technology, hacker culture, and technology politics.
    Jo Kerr is a consultant for charities and non profits who want to change how they work through digital. Her practice includes executive coaching, workshop facilitation, training, strategy development and service design. Jo developed the Digital Maturity Matrix which as helped over 1,000 charities understand their digital maturity and set goals for the future. She is a trustee of Turn2us and Trajectory Theatre and a fellow of the Intersticia Foundation and Newspeak House.
    Writing by Brett Scott
    The Gentrification of Payments  – this was for the Transnational Institute’s State of Power 2019 report.
    Hardcoding Ethics into Fintech This is focused on financial technology more generally, rather than digital payments
    In Praise of Cash a cashless society pieces
    Contact Details
    You can contact Brett on Twitter here and Jo on Twitter here. I am on Twitter @alicelthwaite and my email is alice [at] twaaats [dot] com.
    Review us too please!

    • 36 min
    Political Engagement in Digital Democracies

    Political Engagement in Digital Democracies

    So what is political engagement? Traditionally, it’s meant turning up to cast a ballot in elections, maybe running for the council and joining a party. But in a digital age it means a lot more. We can readily sign petitions, communicate and build movements on social media, speak directly to our MPs online and watch a live stream of what is being debated in Parliament. Theresa May has even turned herself into a Youtuber in the last few days [let’s see if that continues]. There are sites which claim to fit your policy ambitions to the policies of the political parties to help you vote. There are grassroots organisations like More United and Citizens UK which help you construct local campaigns to fit the causes you care about.
    This is all very well and good, but it seems that politicians are unwilling to take advantage of these new communicative techniques. They can also be gamed by malicious actors. The petition to cancel Brexit and Article 50 received over 6 million signature was quickly dismissed by government.
    Joining me is James Young and Bess Mayhew. James has been with us a couple of times before and is a BBC3 technology presenter. Bess is the CEO of More United which is a movement making politics fit the 21st century. More United runs grassroots campaigns that connect people directly with MPs from different parties who are prepared to work together on issues they agree on. So far they have grown to 150,000 people and have worked with over 50 MPs.
    Useful links mentioned on the podcast
    The Russell Brand interview with Jeremy Paxman in 2013
    What is Representative Democracy – check out Wikipedia here
    What is Direct Democracy – check out Wikipedia here
    Here’s a list of different electoral systems – again from Wikipedia!
    Please do review us nicely
    Go on give us a 5 star review on iTunes, Acast, PocketCast or whatever you like listening to us on.
    Please do get in contact if you like this episode You can contact James on Twitter here and Bess on Twitter here. I am on Twitter @alicelthwaite and my email is alice [at] twaaats [dot] com.

    • 36 min
    What is Chinese Social Credit?

    What is Chinese Social Credit?

    Chinese social credit is perhaps the most famous policy to come out of China in recent years. In the West, we tend to criticise and fear it, but we don’t really know what it entails. So, in this episode, we want to actually learn what social credit is all about. Is it really a thinly disguised veil for the actions of an authoritarian state? Or is it actually a practical means for understanding whether you should loan someone some money.
    I’m joined by Adam Knight who is an independent researcher covering the intersection of public and private actors in the regulation of the Chinese internet space. He is also the cofounder of China e-commerce advisory company, TONG Digital and freelance producer with Al Jazeera English. He’s got a lot on his plate.
    Sam Johnston joins me to probe Adam. He’s an ex-technology consultant who is writing a book about freedom of speech.
    Contact information
    My email is alice [at] twaaats [dot] com and my Twitter is @alicelthwaite. Sam is @samuelbjohnston and Adam is @adamdknight
    Please do review us nicely
    Go on give us a 5 star review on iTunes, Acast, PocketCast or whatever you like listening to us on.

    • 43 min
    Moral Panics and the Internet

    Moral Panics and the Internet

    At the end of February 2019, the UK experienced a large moral panic about a fake story. It was rumoured that there was a ‘challenge’ targeted at children which encouraged them to harm themselves. This challenge was called Momo. It was a hoax. Yet schools sent out advice as to how to protect children from Momo, and even the BBC published warnings. For this episode we’re looking at moral panics and the internet to see if we can learn why this happened.
    Warning – this episode does discuss themes of suicide. If you are in need of support please do contact the Samaritans on 116 123.
    I’ve got 3 amazing guests with me for this episode. Gemma Gronland is a researcher at UCL, specializing in how public sector workers enact their duty to report children at risk of radicalization, which has at its heart questions around child protection and managing children’s online lives. Siddarth Venkataramakrishnan is an FT journalist by day and an internet subculture hunter at night, focussing on the extreme and the unusual. James Young is a documentary maker. His recent documentaries have appeared on BBC3; Can Robots Love Us? and Sex Robots & Us: The Future of Sex.
    What is a moral panic?
    Moral panics – periods of irrational fear and often hate towards a chosen group or object – are by no means modern, but the internet has transformed them: ironically, it’s both the object of multiple moral panics, and central to spreading them. Panics may be started by earnest but misled citizens, but often become tools for political power. And because moral panics usually deal with (grossly overstated) threats to children, they pose serious issues around safeguarding.
    TWAAATS podcasts mentioned in the episode
    Identity and the Alt-Right with Andrew Strait and Sid Venkataramakrishnan
    Data, Games and Bandersnatch with Jazza John and James Young
    Are You in a Relationship with a Machine? with Nika Mahnič and Tulsi Parida
    Excellent Article by Joan Donovon in Buzzfeed
    Opinion: Momo Is The Oldest Kind Of Story: Don’t Leave Your Kids Alone In The Woods
    Moral panics and Ebola
    I had a chat with Sid after we recorded the podcast to see if Ebola really wasn’t a moral panic. It was on the news a lot – and there were scares about women going abroad and not being able to get pregnant. I feel we went on a slight tangent with this one. However, Sid did say that Ebola wasn’t in the same league as other health cares like AIDs (which definitely contained an element of moralism).
    We record these live. I try and speculate as little as possible, but I also try and ask questions that other people may be asking. Sometimes I get it wrong. I just can’t understand why some things spread like wildfire and the truth doesn’t. If we discuss this again I’ll make sure to get a psychologist on.
    Have something to say?
    As mentioned at the end of the podcast – I sometimes get great feedback on social networks about the podcasts I am on and produce. Please do get in contact if you like what we do – it really means the world! You can contact James on Twitter here, Sid on Twitter here and Gemma on Twitter here. I am on Twitter @alicelthwaite and my email is alice [at] twaaats [dot] com.

    • 36 min
    Should Internet Access be a Human Right?

    Should Internet Access be a Human Right?

    Are we at a stage where access to the internet should be a human right? Join Alice Thwaite, Vidushi Marta (Article 19) and Areeq Chowdhury (WebRoots Democracy) to talk about human rights! It’s true that the internet is the facilitator for many human rights. A couple picked out from the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights are: freedom of expression, freedom of assembly, the right to work, right to education and the right to freely participate in the cultural life of the community. We rely on internet access for many of these things in a modern world.
    Some states actually switch off the internet, or social media platforms, to stop protestors and riots. Bloomberg reported that in January alone there were internet shutdowns in 4 African states: Sudan, Gabon, Zimbabwe, DR Congo. For example, in Sudan, there was a shutdown on social media as protestors called for the President, Omar al-Bashir to step down. In DR Congo, the whole country had no internet for 20 days following a contested presidential election.
    However, worldwide universal internet access is still a pipedream. In June 2018, 55.1% of the population was online. This is much higher in developed countries, but even then a significant portion of the population rarely uses the internet. In the UK, 89% of the population uses the internet weekly, which means 11% do not. So let’s have a conversation about accessing the internet and human rights.
    Guests
    Areeq Chowdhury is the Founder and Chief Executive of the think tank WebRoots Democracy which explores the intersection of technology and democratic participation. In particular, it focuses on online voting in elections as well as the regulation of social media platforms.
    Vidushi Marda is a legal researcher interested in the interplay between emerging technologies, policy, and society. Currently a Digital Programme Officer with ARTICLE 19′s Team Digital, her primary focus is on the ethical, legal, and regulatory issues that arise from algorithmic decision making. She also works on strengthening human rights considerations in internet infrastructure, particularly at internet governance bodies like ICANN and the IEEE.
    Interesting links
    Vidushi mentioned a couple of UN resolutions which mean that your online rights are equal to your offline rights. Read the Article 19 statement on this here.
    If you’d like to know more about ISPs (Internet Service Providers) check out the Wikipedia page here.
    Email meeee
    My email is alice [at] twaaats [dot] com and my Twitter is @alicelthwaite. Areeq is @AreeqChowdhury and Vidushi is @VidushiMarda.
    Go on give us a review
    If you like the podcast then please review us on iTunes, Acast, PocketCast or whatever you like listening to us on.

    • 30 min

Customer Reviews

pm681 ,

Wow

Truly some of most intelligent robots I have ever heard. Has anyone informed the google yet?

Rulala3 ,

Great podcast

Love the topics, the fun spin these guys put on, and the abundance of information!! So relevant to our times... a must listen to!!

not a Thwaite ,

Whoop

Made me have a giggle, and that was enjoyable

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