Cloud Empires

25 October, 5:30 pm

1hr 30 minFREE

Talk | Computing, Society, Technology

Cloud Empires: how digital platforms are overtaking the state and how we can regain control

Cheng Kar Shun Digital Hub, Jesus College, Oxford OX1 3RD

The early Internet was a lawless place, populated by scam artists who made buying or selling anything online risky business. Then companies like Amazon, eBay and Apple established secure digital platforms for selling physical goods, crowdsourcing labour, and downloading apps. These tech giants have gone on to rule the Internet, but how did this happen? How did entrepreneurs, users and workers become the hapless subjects of online economic empires? The Internet was supposed to liberate us from powerful institutions.

Vili Lehdonvirta, digital economy expert and author of a ground-breaking new book on the subject, explores the rise of the platform economy into state-like dominance over our lives and proposes a new way forward.

This event is hosted by Quentin Cooper, science journalist and broadcaster, and former presenter of BBC Radio 4’s Material World.

 Refreshments provided.

Professor Vili Lehdonvirta is a Senior Research Fellow of Jesus College, Professor of Economic Sociology and Digital Social Research at the Oxford Internet Institute, associate member of the University of Oxford Department of Sociology, and former Fellow of the Alan Turing Institute. His research examines how digital technologies are used to reshape the organization of economic activities in society, from gig platforms to online marketplaces and virtual currencies to crowdfunding. What are the implications to workers, entrepreneurs, and states, and how can this digital economy be governed? Before his academic career, Vili was a game programmer. Read more here.


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Cheng Kar Shun Digital Hub, Jesus College, Oxford OX1 3RD OX1 3DW