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Welcome to the Society in the Loop newsletter! 🤗

This was an exciting month for Society In The Loop because we brought the ideas behind the creation of this newsletter into the physical world, with our first ever event.

We are really grateful for our partners, Civil Society Futures and the Ada Lovelace Institute for helping make it happen and we are pretty sure it was the first of more events.

Thank you also to everyone who joined us on the day for all your enthusiasm and inspiring discussions. 

I've written a short post about the event and there will be more to follow. And make sure you check out Digital Agenda's summary of the day

We have also posted an open and editable document to crowdsource examples of social harms as a consequence of technology. Please add any examples you have here.

Cassie Robinson

👨‍💻 Work 👩‍💻

Interesting work from the Social Metrics Commission published this week proposes a more nuanced definition of poverty that goes beyond simply looking at income. Their research also finds that pensioner poverty is in decline, although people with a disability are more likely to face poverty than previously thought.

Along similar lines, this piece by Alex Roy argues we need to rethink our conception of autonomy as the world of self-driving cars approaches, calling for “Universal Basic Mobility
. The need to reopen conversations around fairness and value in society is something we feel strongly about at Doteveryone, and over the next few months we’ll be looking at how to ensure care is valued in the face of automation.

In other news Ipsos Mori and the Huff Post have combined forces to produce this fascinating Perceptions Index, comparing 13 countries to see “who are the most and least wrong” about things such as immigration levels, teenage pregnancy, smartphone ownership and many 
other 'state of the nation' questions. I’ve shoehorned this into the ‘work’ section because all countries overestimate the level of unemployment by a long way (Italy 🇮🇹​ takes the crown here, believing 49% of people are unemployed when in reality it's 12%).

⚖️ Rights and justice 

Another worrying chapter in HMG vs human rights this month as the EU Court for Human Rights rules GCHQ’s monitoring of bulk communications violated our privacy. This comes off the back of similar concerns about GCHQ’s methods from the Investigatory Powers Committee and Privacy International we discussed in last month’s SITL. Raise your game GCHQ!

More big rights news coming out of Brussels courtesy of the European Parliament. They have voted in a dramatic new set of copyright laws (arstechnica’s explainer here) to a rather mixed reception...the Independent Music Companies Association’s Helen Smith (unsurprisingly) backs the laws, the Electronic Frontier Foundation is not impressed and Wired adopts a neutral stance by exploring its implications for the “meme war”.

🏛️ Public institutions and accountability

IPPR’s new Prosperity and Justice report calls for no less than a complete overhaul of the UK’s economy and institutions, so it’s no surprise their ideas are garnering a fair amount of attention and debate. In the red corner supporting the proposals, we have the Guardian, Equality Trust, and CLES (who look at it through the lens of local authorities). In the blue, the Adam Smith Institute, Institute of Economic Affairs and the Spectator are less impressed.

Whilst the split along the traditional left-right divide is obvious, the issue also speaks to a wider discussion, centred around one question: Are things really that bad? The roots of this conversation can be traced to a debate between Steven Pinker and Nicholas Taleb, and cropped up again in the Doteveryone office when our founder Martha Lane-Fox recommended this excellent Ezra Klein podcast with author Anand Giridharadas.  🎧 Plug in to hear Giridharadas talk about how the current culture of philanthropy risks perpetuating social problems.

This really matters, because it defines how radically we choose to approach society’s problems. This “revolution vs evolution” debate won’t be settled any time soon.

Collective actions

📕The Economist issue a clarion call for rescuing liberalism

☮️ A petition is calling for the "comforting" piece of road grafitti, "Give Peas a Chance", to be reinstated and protected 

Cool stuff

Discover the political ideology of your sector.

...and a little left-field 👈

😰 What the internet’s darker corners tell us about our societal anxieties

💭 One of the most important think pieces of the year.

🍅 🥗 And why a Korean tomato salad holds the key to developing ethical AI (nope me neither).
🗣️ Have your say 🗣️

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