Welcome to Doteveryone's first edition of Society in the Loop!
Society is at a critical moment in its relationship with the internet. Digital technologies are changing the world at a speed never seen before, in ways no-one could have imagined. The social sector and civil society have an important role to play in directing the impacts of technologies on our lives.
I've written before about the need to bridge the social sector, with the social sciences and the tech sector, especially at this critical time. Whilst the tech industry is starting to wake up to its impact on society and our lives *cough* Facebook *cough*, it is still a long way off, and often far removed, from the depth of understanding that people working in the social sector have of society's biggest challenges.
Through either having had direct experience of poverty, inequality, ill-health, or any of the other number of issues we face in society today. Or through having worked closely with people who have - people working in the social sector have spent time digging into the root causes and engaging with the layers of complexity that often exist around such things.
Meanwhile neither the tech industry or the social sector have been connected enough to the social sciences - the anthropologists and the sociologists who’ve been identifying the ways in which the internet is changing society. They are the community that know just how bias in an algorithm could have huge unintended consequences on some of the most vulnerable in society and how they are potentially deepening existing inequalities.
Society in the Loop intends to bring these communities together; to share their collective expertise, to gain more understanding of the others’ work and to ensure that the impacts of technology are directed in a way that benefits everyone and strengthens society.
It's less of a newsletter; and more an ongoing conversation. In future issues, we’ll be sharing interviews between people working in the social sector and those studying the impacts of tech, we’ll be championing the people and organisations who are strengthening the social fabric of the UK (because that’s what we really care about!) We’ll also be reflecting on how the need to mitigate for the unintended consequences of tech can exist without drowning out the ways it can also help address social issues.
I hope you enjoy our first issue. If you do, make sure you let us know you want to receive our future editions!