The Death of the Gods (21st June 2019)

Location: Peers’ Dining Room, House of Lords

‘The Death of the Gods: The New Global Power Grab’ won the 2019 Transmission Prize. It describes Carl’s ground-breaking journey to track down and expose one of the most important things that shapes, guides and limits each of our lives: power.

The journey brought him face-to-face with face with a fake news merchant in Kosovo, cyber-pranksters in Berlin, hikikormori – ‘the departed’ – in South Korea, who only live online.

Amongst the rolling hills of Berkshire, he met British Army information warriors and in Las Vegas the largest gathering of hackers in the world.

He has gone on a cyber-crime raid with the police, peered into the mechanics of secret algorithms, built a bot to keep the peace on Twitter, lived in a political-technology commune (twice) and bcome involved in a struggle for control of an online assassination market.

He traces how a new, digital form of power has chipped away at the old, familiar places where power used to sit; scaring CEOs, forcing politicians to resign, swallowing up newspapers, eclipsing experts, and pulling down companies.

For centuries, writers and thinkers have used power as a prism through which to view and understand the world at moments of seismic change.

As power escapes from its old bonds, he shows us where it has gone, the shape it now takes and how it touches each of our lives.

…and the rise of power in the digital age.

About our speaker:

Carl Miller – Research Director, CASM at Demos

Carl is the Research Director of the Centre for the Analysis of Social Media (CASM) at Demos.

Carl Miller is an award-winning author and researcher who has thrown himself into some of the most scary, hidden, weird and important parts of the digital age to understand how all of our lives are changing. His work combines data and analysis with immersive, first-hand reporting.

He is particularly interested in how social media is changing society, and how researching it can inform important decisions. This includes:

  • Digital politics and digital democracy
  • Cybercrime, and the hacking community
  • Cyber-bullying, hate crime, misogyny and abuse online
  • Information warfare and online disinformation
  • ‘Fake news’, digital and citizen journalism
  • Automated decision-making, Internet governance and digital addiction
  • Building new methods and technology to study social media data

He is the co-founder and Research Director of the Centre for the Analysis of Social Media at Demos the first UK think tank institute dedicated to studying the digital world and is a Visiting Research Fellow at King’s College London.

His debut book, ‘The Death of the Gods: The New Global Power Grab’, an examination of the new centres of power and control in the twenty-first century was published in 2018 by Penguin RandomHouse, and won the 2019 Transmission Prize.

He has written for Wired, New Scientist, the Sunday Times, the Telegraph and the Guardian, appears frequently in the press, and speaks about his work around the world. He researches and writes widely on these issues, including for Wired, New Scientist, the Sunday Times, the Telegraph and the Guardian. He is a Visiting Research Fellow at King’s College London.

Carl’s website is and he Tweets at @carljackmiller.

Today’s event is kindly hosted by The Lord Lucas. It is a very special event since we will be raising a glass and celebrating the life of Charles T Ross (RIP 3rd November 2018) before we hear from our speaker.

Heartificial Empathy: The Secret Ingredient to Digital Transformation (28th May 2019)

*** Due to circumstances beyond our control the date for this event has changed to Tuesday, 28th May 2019 ***

Is adding ’empathy’ into Artificial Intelligence the secret ingredient to digital transformation, customer centricity, digital ethics and diversity?

In this talk, Minter Dial will recount how a bot got in the way of a romantic evening with his wife, what it means to be empathic as leaders, and why cognitive empathy can solve so many issues in business and start-ups, including how to unleash AI and AGI, giving heartificial empathy to heartificial intelligence.

The leading author in this field, Minter Dial, will speak on the future of empathy in AI and AGI, to hear of a better future through better AI, to be inspired, informed and involved.

Everyone who participates in this dinner will receive a gift from your Chair – a signed copy of Minter’s new book ‘Heartificial Empathy: Putting Heart into Business and Artificial Intelligence’

About our speaker: Minter Dial

Minter Dial is a storyteller, filmmaker, two-time author and an international professional speaker. In particular, Minter is author and producer of the award-winning WWII documentary film and book, The Last Ring Home (2016). The book won the Book Excellence Award 2018 in the category of Biography.

His second book, ‘Futureproof, how to get your business ready for the next’, co-authored with Caleb Storkey, wowed readers in 2017 and won the Business Book Award 2018 in the category of Embracing Change.

His latest book, ‘Heartificial Empathy, Putting Heart into Business and Artificial Intelligence’ came out in November 2018.

Founder of The Myndset Co. and then of the DigitalProof Consultancy, Minter speaks and consults on Branding, New Tech and Digital Transformation, working with major global brands, such as Samsung, Remy Cointreau, Kering and Tencent.

Prior to setting up his own ventures, Minter led a 16-year international career with the L’Oréal Group – including 9 different assignments in France, England, USA and Canada. Among these, Minter was MD Worldwide of REDKEN, then of the Professional Division for the Canadian subsidiary. In his final position at L’Oreal, he was a member of the Executive Committee worldwide, in charge of eBusiness, Business Development and Education.

Our Broken Systems: Towards Collaborative Innovation in the Digital Age (19th March 2019)

As we maintain industry simmering with uncertainty and paralysed by an inability to ‘innovate for good, innovate for all’ – particularly in all-things digital – perhaps what we need is a new impetus, new drivers and new processes to free companies that are suffering from ‘trapped-inside’ syndrome?

Nicole Yershon maintains: “It’s very easy to look around and think the world is stacked against you; everywhere you look there’s out-dated systems, and crazy procedures with processes that seem designed to reward the lazy.

“They waste valuable resources and promote the mediocre. If you do nothing you may well spend your entire adult life having the imagination, inspiration and innovation sucked right out of you. You’ve got two choices, you can let it crush you or you can push back and write your own rules.”

Nicole has written some new rules based on 17 years of developing new innovation processes put into practice in her own ‘Innovation Labs’ – they’ve proved successful.

Everyone who participates in this dinner will receive a gift from your Chair – a signed copy of Nicole’s new book ‘Rough Diamond’.

Nicole Yershon, The NY Collective

Nicole Yershon is a maverick, inspiration and the original rough diamond. She is at once a consultant, speaker, judge, mentor, connector and Amazon #1 Best Selling author.

She works on the front line of innovation – bringing organisations kicking and screaming into the 21st Century. In that sense she properly defines disruption. And when that’s done, making it actually happen.

She is rebellious and restless – a true entrepreneurial spirit. She can call on a vast International network of start-ups, entrepreneurs and bleeding edge businesses.

Disruption presents many challenges and opportunities – Nicole turns both into advantages. She is not content unless her clients get impact and return on their investment. It’s always about delivering measurable value to the business.

Nicole is the founder of The NYC and before that the Ogilvy Labs – the dedicated Innovation unit of Ogilvy & Mather Group. Part of WPP Group plc.

Just a few of the clients she has worked with over recent years: Danone, Disruption Magazine, Havas, Amex, IBM, BP, Danone, Go Compare, Unilever, BA, Wetherspoons, Microsoft Ventures, IBM Smartcamp, and Cisco.

An ‘Internet of Peoples’ Developed Using the Cognitive Science of Change (19th February 2019)

Towards Collaborative Human and Machine Intelligence

Innovation is a challenge at every level of industry and in society; real time continuous improvement in innovation is a new paradigm that is being driven by rapid advances in robust, secure and decentralised communication platforms.

New developments embracing understanding the cognitive science of change to inform development of decentralised AI will bring a step-change in our power to inspire, inform, involve and innovate at an enterprise level.

This has led to decentralised AI-based apps for real time continuous improvement in business.

Join us at the Real Time Club on February 19th 2019 to hear from the leader in this field, Katz Kiely, speak on the future of innovation using deep learning decentralised AI-based apps, to hear of a better future, to be inspired, informed and involved.

“new ways of connecting is the only path forward to improving our collective well-being. Katz gets it.”

— Vint Cerf, Father of the Internet and Google’s Chief Internet Evangelist on Katz Kiely

Katz Kiely, CEO & Founder, beep

Katz is an award-winning serial entrepreneur and pioneer. She built the first open innovation platform for HP, re-engineered the architecture of how a UN agency does business and designed a behaviour change platform for Intel that connected mobiles, big screens and data.

She now heads up beep: the Behavioural Enterprise Empowerment Platform. beep is an enterprise-level, decentralised, AI software that empowers employees to innovate for efficiency, effectiveness and productivity.

beep on Radio 4

Decentralising our collective genius

Usually all Real Time Club events are held under the Chatham House Rule, according to which information disclosed during a meeting may be reported by those present, but the source of that information may not be explicitly or implicitly identified. That is, if you repeat something said during a Real Time Club event, don’t say who said it!

On this occasion, we are embracing social media to decentralise our collective genius, to use the limitless sources of innovation we have, where geography – in the universe – does not bind us, and where the bottlenecks of centralisation are removed: A resonant, harmonious Internet of Peoples.

Douglas Adams, Marvin the Paranoid Android and Me (15th January 2019)

Be inspired through hearing from our esteemed speaker, Robbie Stamp, reflecting on Douglas Adams and his very close association with him and projects around Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, the nature of perspective, 42, Artificial Intelligence and Rhinoceroses’ Sense of Smell, and much, much more…

Robbie Stamp

Robbie Stamp is a TedX Speaker (Digital Afterlives and a second talk on the nature of grief), a member of the UK All Party Parliamentary Group on Artificial Intelligence (not a politician), and CEO of Bioss International, a consultancy interested in decision making and human judgement, particularly now in relation to machine learning and AI.

Back in 1995, Robbie was a Founder of The Digital Village with the late great Douglas Adams, author of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

The Company created the Computer Game Starship Titanic and, the real “earth edition” of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

Robbie was an Executive Producer of the Disney movie of HHGG and is Chairman of Not Panicking Ltd, once again owns the digital rights to the earth edition and is now imagining a new future for “The Guide”.

He also once produced an aware winning documentary on Climate Change called “Can Polar Bears Tread Water” and wrote Trojan Horses a book about “deception” during the Second World War.

In Blockchain We Trust: A Brief History of Blockchain and Digital Currencies (27th November 2018)

Time’s glory is to calm contending kings,
To unmask falsehood, and bring truth to light,
To stamp the seal of time in aged things,
To wake the morn, and sentinel the night,
To wrong the wronger ‘til he render right.

— The Rape of Lucrece, Shakespeare (1594)

Blockchain: “…is an incorruptible digital ledger of economic transactions that can be programmed to record not just financial transactions but virtually everything of value.” Don & Alex Tapscott, authors ‘Blockchain Revolution’ (2016).

Haydn Jones, co-author of ‘An Executive Guide to Blockchain’ with Maria Grazia Vigliotti, will give us an overview and brief history of Blockchain technology, its use for digital currency development and many other applications over the past decade or so, in his inimitable knowledgeable and humorous style.

Haydn will give us his view on the next 10 years of development of this ingenious technology and how it will potentially benefit and impact us all.

Haydn James, Founder & MD, Blockchain Hub

Haydn has over 20 years’ commercial, operational and transformation experience working for retail and investment banks (UBS/Deutsche Bank), a central bank (the Bank of England), a regulator, (the Financial Services Authority), a global management consultancy firm (A. T. Kearney) and a Japanese technology company (Fujitsu).

He brings depth in terms of operational knowledge, and breadth in terms of sector knowledge.

As to roles, Haydn has held senior operations and technology strategy roles. He has run Cash Management and Funding units, as well as FX and Equities settlement teams, alongside leading projects to re-engineer the underlying platforms.

He has worked in architecturally complex, data-rich environments, grappling with the challenge of reconciling legacy and leading-edge technologies and transforming operating models.

Operationally, he has run large, client sensitive platforms demanding high levels of availability. He has facilitated numerous technology and operational workshops, and presents regularly on fintech,digital, blockchain and digital currencies, most recently presentations in Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Nigeria and Chinese financial institutions.

He is currently the Founder and Managing Director of Blockchain Hub, a specialist strategy consultancy working on leading edge technologies including digital and blockchain strategies.

Haydn trained as an engineer at Manchester University (First Class), and was called to the English Bar by the Inner Temple. He is a Fellow of the Institute of Engineering and Technology, and Liveryman within the Worshipful Company of Information Technologists.

Artificial Intelligence and Fairness: Can we have both? (16th October 2018)

Or perhaps, “Are we electronic sheep dreaming of rules for the wolves of Silicon Valley?

AI is already making important decisions about our lives, in insurance, healthcare, shopping, politics and government but because we don’t know which decisions they are making let alone why, we are afraid. We don’t want a world where AI confuses men of colour with gorillas, where women find out they are pregnant by algorithms spotting a pattern in their shopping or where our pay is determined by algorithms written by unaccountable geeky white heterosexual cis males… like our after-dinner speaker Dominic Connor.

Dominic Connor

As well as being current President of the Real Time Club, Dominic Connor has done nearly every job in IT, from grunt programmer on a failed AI project at BT, through debugging Microsoft operating system code for IBM, directing the building of a secure wide area network for HM government, lecturing in advanced programming, head of IT in a bank, founder member of the VB User Group, Test Director at PC Magazine, contributor to The Register, City headhunter, vice chair of the Conservative Technology Forum, printing circuit boards for the military and despite his questionable views on fuzzy logic and lambda calculus Queen Mary College felt it had no alternative but to give him a degree in maths and computer science.

Artificial Intelligence and Artificial Emotional Intelligence – What’s it All About? (19th June 2018)

Or perhaps, “Will I fall in love with a Chatbot while I’m complaining about my pizza delivery?”

By integrating emotional intelligence – EI – with the existing artificial intelligence, AI is taking a crucial turn on its journey to becoming a transformational technology; however, even the most sophisticated AI technologies lack essential factors like emotional intelligence and the ability to contextualize information as we do.

This is the sole reason why AI has not succeeded in taking over a major aspect of our careers and lives, so, infusing emotions, empathy, and morality into AI is the next milestone technologists wish to accomplish, and a considerable amount of effort is being put in the process. By the year 2020, artificial emotional intelligence is deemed to be a technological reality.

Artificial emotional intelligence is real; companies able to effectively incorporate contextual understanding and empathy into their technologies will become the front-runners in this race to technological excellence. However, they must also be cautious of the social and personal implications of such a huge transition.

Artificial emotional intelligence is real; companies able to effectively incorporate contextual understanding and empathy into their technologies will become the front-runners in this race to technological excellence.

In the next five years, artificial emotional intelligence is projected to grow into a multibillion-dollar industry, completely transforming industries, market research, innovation, R&D, and much more.

However, they must also be cautious of the social and personal implications of such a huge transition.

Our speaker today will describe ‘What is artificial emotional intelligence?’ and how the integration of EI with AI can be beneficial and what the future of artificial emotional intelligence looks like. We’ll also get to question and debate the social, societal and personal issues that will arise from this exciting – perhaps frightening – AI development.

Professor Maja Pantic

Professor Maja Pantic is one of the world’s leading experts in the research on machine understanding of human behaviour including vision-based detection, tracking, and analysis of human behavioural cues like facial expressions and body gestures, and multimodal analysis of human behaviours like laughter, social signals, and affective states.

Professor Pantic studied Mathematics in her native Belgrade, Serbia, but moved to Delft, the Netherlands, in 1992 to study Computer Science. She obtained her BSc, MSc and PhD degrees in Artificial Intelligence in 1995, 1997, and 2001, respectively, from Delft University of Technology, the Netherlands. Until 2005, she was an Assistant/ Associate Professor at Delft University of Technology. In 2006, she joined the Imperial College London, Department of Computing, UK, where she is Professor of Affective & Behavioural Computing and the Head of the iBUG group, working on machine analysis of human non-verbal behaviour.

In 2002, Professor Pantic was awarded a Dutch Research Council Junior Fellowship (NWO Veni) for her early work on automatic facial expression analysis and named one of the 7 best young researchers in the Netherlands in that year. In 2008, she received the very first European Research Council Starting Fellowship for her research on Machine Analysis of Human Naturalistic Behaviour (MAHNOB).

At that time only 2.5% of the applicants received an ERC Fellowship. In 2011, Professor Pantic received BCS Roger Needham Award, awarded annually to a UK based researcher for a distinguished research contribution in computer science within ten years of their PhD.

In 2012, Pantic was named Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers(IEEE) for contribution to automatic human behaviour understanding and affective computing. In 2016, she was named a Fellow of the International Association for Pattern Recognition (IAPR).

In 2016, she was chosen by the journal Nature to present “Machines That Can Read Human Emotions” at the World Economic Forum in Davos. In 2017, she was named “One of Ten Female Innovators To Watch” by the tech magazine WIRED.

Professor Pantic has been appointed as Research Director of the new Samsung AI Centre in Cambridge (SAIC), where she is responsible for the overall research programme and the strategy of the Centre.

Driving the Digital Age: The Rise and Rise of Neurodiverse Talent in the Workplace (19th July 2018)

Time: Thursday, 19 July 2018 from 1:00 pm to 8:00 pm Please note the change of date
Location: Lecture Theatre 1, Kings College London, New Hunt’s House, SE1 1UL, London

Today we present how if we drive the digital age by empowering it with new employees who are autistic, we can provide employment, careers and life changing opportunities; we will show how early interventions can lead to lifelong opportunities for all, particularly those focused with skills in IT.

There is a huge un-tapped potential in the 700,000+ people in Britain on the autistic spectrum.

Only 16 per cent of those on the Autistic Spectral Disorder spectrum have full-time jobs, according to National Autistic Society. Yet Steve Silberman, author of ‘NeuroTribes: The Legacy of Autism and the Future of Neurodiversity’, says that many, if given the right help, could find employment and develop successful careers.

It’s time to match the potential talent these people have to jobs and employment opportunities where characteristics such as attention to detail, adherence to patterns, the ability to repeat tasks and loyalty are prized; our digital age has created both an ideal workplace and can now offer jobs in IT and other industries or sectors for this potentially highly-talented group.

In the UK forward-looking companies such as Auticon, Microsoft, Procter & Gamble, Deutsche Bank Harry Spectres Chocolates and Specialisterne have seen and are acting on the great potential offered by autistic workers; there are growing opportunities for employment – but this can be best driven by early-years provision of services, therapies and financing that are at presently woeful in the school system and as they reach adulthood it often becomes non-existent.

We’re on the road to making a difference – we’re calling on you all to help make that difference and to empower the digital age with IT skilled people who are more capable because they’re on the spectrum and in our sights.


13:00 – 13:30 Registration and Networking. Refreshments will be served
13:30 – 13:35 Alex Cairns, COO, Ace Children’s Occupational Therapy: Chief Instigator and your host today
13:35 – 13:45 John Collins, Chair, Real Time Club: “Challenging Modern Employment Practices: Diversity in the Digital Age”
13:45 – 14:20 Ray Coyle, Auticon CEO: “Delivering Promise for the Digital Age”
14:20 – 14:55 Arran Linton-Smith, Autism Employment Advocate, The NAS: “Changing the World of Autism and Work”
14:55 – 15:30 Annelise Thornton, Regional HR Director – Europe, FieldCore: “Diversity Driven from the Top”
15:30 – 16:00 Fireside Chat: John Collins in discussion with Arran Linton-Smith: “Is Autism a disability?”
16:00 – 17:15 Alison Cairns: MD, Ace Children’s Occupational Therapy
Diana Pierags: Clinical Specialist Occupational Therapist, Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust
Hester Velthius: Senior Researcher, King’s College London: Neurodevelopmental disorders and their treatment
“Autistic Spectrum Disorder: A Journey Through Life in the Digital Age”
17:15 – 17:35 Dominic Cairns, University Student; and how this has helped him become a university student: “Growing up with Autism: The Amazing Benefits of Early Years Intervention”
17:35 – 18:00 Speakers’ Panel: Chair, Alex Cairns: “So, what’s next?”
18:00 – 18:10 John Collins, Chair, Real Time Club: “Call to action: We WILL move forwards, here’s how we’ll start”
18:10 – 20:00 Networking drinks and nibbles

About our speakers and presenters

Ray Coyle: CEO, Auticon

A seasoned businessman who joined Auticon in 2016 to grow the Business across Europe and develop a global footprint. He has 150 staff across Europe, of whom all 120 consultants are on the Autistic Spectrum delivering complex consulting assignments primarily into FTSE 250 businesses.

Ray will present the CEO keynote this afternoon.

Annelise Thornton: HR Director, FieldCore

Annelise is an experienced HR professional who actively manages ‘diversity’ across businesses in all its forms. She actively encourages business to recognise the opportunity professionals on the Spectrum can bring to complementary winning teams.

Annelise will present HR stakeholder keynote this afternoon and demonstrate why diversity policy can only work when driven from the top of businesses.

Arran Linton-Smith: Autism Employment Advocate, The National Autistic Society, NAS National Forum Member and Guinness World Record Holder

Arran has experienced the most varied career of all our speakers. He always knew he was ‘different’ but he only received his autistic diagnosis in 2012. He is now a successful senior consultant with Interserve Construction and has appeared on radio, television, in the media and spoken in the House of Parliament for the National Autistic Society, championing the opportunities which autistic people bring to business. Arran is frequently asked to speak at major events such as the Autism Professionals Conference in March this year.

Dominic Cairns: Student and early-interventions success story

Dominic is the son of Alex and Alison, who is himself on the Autistic Spectrum. He volunteered to present his own story and the benefits of early intervention with his diagnosis which has enabled him to achieve academically and mature socially. Dominic is currently a student at the University of Winchester.

Alison Cairns: Specialist Neurodiversity Paediatrics Occupational Therapist and MD, Ace Children’s Occupational Therapy

Alison has been an Occupational Therapist her entire career, specialising in paediatrics for the last 20 years. She left the NHS in 2013 to start Ace Children’s OT enabling her to focus on both assessment and treatment of children with: ASD, Dyspraxia and Sensory Integration difficulties, also congenital disorders such as Downs. She is also an accredited tutor for Hampshire County Council Education, Hampshire’s teaching school alliance and has delivered training across the South of England for other organisations. Since Alex joined the Practice full time in 2017, it has grown sufficiently enabling her to take more high-profile training events.

Alison, Diana and Hester will jointly present the clinical keynote this afternoon.

Diana Pierags: Clinical Specialist Occupational Therapist, Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust

Diana specialised in paediatrics during her BSc Honours degree and consequent Masters in advancing practice in Occupational Therapy. She currently divides her time between the NHS and Ace Childrens OT. Diana is an advanced practitioner in sensory integration and specialises in working with children with ASD and regulation difficulties as well as using the SCERTS framework for children with ASD, their families and educational settings. She joins Alison presenting training courses and was also a keynote speaker for the NHS at the Occupational Therapy Show, NEC in 2017 and spoke at the Royal College of Occupational Therapy annual conference in 2016.

Hester Velthius: Medical doctor and senior researcher, King’s College London: Neurodevelopmental Disorders and their treatment

Hester is active as a medical doctor and researcher in Neurodevelopmental Disorders (such as Autism Spectrum Disorders and Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorders) at King’s College London and the Maudsley Hospital. She is currently running a research study on the brain’s neurotransmitter balance of its main excitatory and inhibitory neurotransmitter, using Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) and electroencephalography (EEG).

Alex Cairns: COO, Ace Children’s Occupational Therapy

Formerly a global IT executive, Alex took a career break after a number of board-level interim roles and decided to join Ace Children’s OT full time to grow the Practice, enabling treatment of more children and creating events such as the one you are attending today.

Alex will host the event this afternoon, ensuring continuity between each of our speakers and audience participation.

Dr John Collins: Disruptive Technologist at Innovation Foundry & Chair, Real Time Club

John, among many other things, is Commercial Director of the UK National Centre for commercialising Engineering Biology based at Imperial College London, SynbiCITE ( SynbiCITE is tasked with growing industry based on using the engineering of biology to ‘do useful things and make useful stuff to heal us, feed us and fuels us’. John helps turn ‘upstarts into start-ups and start-ups to become grown ups’ through business incubation and acceleration programmes designed specifically for SynbiCITE.

Prior to this John has had a varied portfolio career including R&D, product development, technical sales, business development, international development for a trade association, innovation and digital creativity growth and in educational services. Throughout his careers John has run his own ‘Disruptive Technologies and Innovations Management’ consultancy – Innovation Foundry Ltd. – and continues to work with a diverse spread of technologies.

John will open and close this afternoon’s proceedings and also interview Arran Linton-Smith at our ‘fireside chat’ this afternoon.

The People vs Tech: How the internet is killing democracy and how we save it (22nd May 2018)

The internet was meant to set us free; it seems to have done the opposite.

Tech has radically changed the way we live our lives. But have we unwittingly handed too much away to shadowy powers behind a wall of code, all manipulated by a handful of Silicon Valley utopians, ad men, and venture capitalists?

And, in light of recent data breach scandals around companies like Facebook and Cambridge Analytica, what does that mean for democracy, our delicately balanced system of government that was created long before big data, total information and artificial intelligence?

In this urgent polemic, Jamie Bartlett argues that through our unquestioning embrace of big tech, the building blocks of democracy are slowly being removed. The middle class is being eroded, sovereign authority and civil society is weakened, and we citizens are losing our critical faculties, maybe even our free will.

The People Vs Tech is an enthralling account of how our fragile political system is being threatened by the digital revolution. Bartlett explains that by upholding six key pillars of democracy, we can save it before it is too late. We need to become active citizens; uphold a shared democratic culture; protect free elections; promote equality; safeguard competitive and civic freedoms; and trust in a sovereign authority.

Jamie will present his (essential) book and show that the stakes couldn’t be higher and that, unless we radically alter our course, democracy will join feudalism, supreme monarchies and communism as just another political experiment that quietly disappeared.

Join the discussion and debate with our speaker as he describes how our fragile political system is being threatened by the digital revolution. The ticket price includes a copy of the book – this will be signed on the evening by Jamie.

Jamie Bartlett

Jamie Bartlett is the author of The People Vs Tech, which examines the tensions between technology and democracy. He is also author of Radicals (2017) about political outsiders and The Dark Net (2014) about internet subcultures. He is director of the Centre for the Analysis of Social Media at the think-tank Demos, where and is also a regular commentator on national and international media outlets. He presented the two-part BBC documentary series ‘The Secrets of Silicon Valley’.