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A short Q&A with Tim Cowlishaw from BBC ahead of Reworks Agora

Category
Reworks Agora

Are you seeing any bright ideas coming from out the last five years?

I think the most exciting thing to have happened recently in technology is the range of voices from *outside* technology, particularly from the social sciences, who are getting involved in imagining, and critiquing the future of technology. In particularly, the new field of ‘Fairness, Accountability and Transparency’ in Machine Learning (https://fatconference.org/2019/cfp.html) and the work of communities such as ‘Theorizing the Web’ (http://theorizingtheweb.org/ttw18/) who are bringing all sorts of useful perspectives from other fields which challenge the received wisdom of the tech industry and help us develop technology and futures which are more focused on real human needs.

What’s the most interesting topic you’re thinking about this week?

The role of public organisations in making the Web a better place – we’ve been working on this for quite a while and have just published some detail on our work, which seems to have struck a chord with others outside thei organisation: https://www.bbc.co.uk/rd/projects/public-service-internet

What were the most inspiring moment in your career?

It’s so difficult to pick one, but presenting our work on making music with smart speakers at Sónar festival (https://www.bbc.co.uk/rd/blog/2018-06-singing-with-machines) was definitely a highlight – it was a real privilege to be able to present our work alongside so many incredible artists and musicians whose work I love. Closer to home, I’m inspired on a daily basis by the trainees I supervise as part of our graduate scheme (https://www.bbc.co.uk/careers/trainee-schemes-and-apprenticeships/technology/research-technologists) – without exception they’re extraordinary people who teach me so many new skills and perspectives even while I’m meant to be teaching them!

Tim Cowlishaw is a Project Technologist / Senior Software engineer in the IRFS (Internet Research & Future Services) Experiences team at BBC. Through a presentation of the previous work and methods, Tim Cowlishaw will outline the ways in which creativity, diversity and general weirdness can be used to imagine and build just, inclusive, and fun future technologies.

September 16th at Reworks Agora.