We agree: keeping up with tech is H A R D. Given the pace, breadth, and complexity of digital technology discourses, it is easy to feel overwhelmed. Certainly, 2022 was no exception. Although buzzwords like ‘AI’, ‘Big Data’, and the ‘Metaverse’ have continued to dominate headlines, they arguably have helped little in addressing this perceived overload. Yet, these circumstances underline the relevance of discussing and finding common grounds when talking about tech.
At EDF, we believe that a fundamental understanding about technology, its shapers, and social implications is integral to critically navigating our digital present and assuring a human-centric digital future.
We are certain it can be fun and invite you to keep up keeping up with tech!
To this end, we asked our team members to share their favourite stories, outlets and overall tips from 2022. The resulting list features a broad range of diverse perspectives on technology discourses that we think will remain of relevance throughout 2023 for people with all levels of related expertise.
However, we want to highlight that this list is by no means exhaustive and generally advise everybody to critically reflect upon their news consumption. Also, the contents referred to here might not necessarily reflect the opinion of Europe’s Digital Future as an organization. Still, we want to encourage everybody to support people behind the information they find helpful to extend possible.
I’ve just joined EDF in 2022 and have been deeply engaged in technology discourses since then. Therefore, my recommended resources are more broadly about how different facets of technology affect the societal sphere than about one niche, specifically. So if you are a non-techie newby ready to learn about the crazy things happening in the digital sphere in an entertaining way, these tips are for you!
- “Machine Learning Guide by Dept“: You want to dive into the ML world and slowly progress from understanding basic terminology to current discussions in the field? Here you go!
- “The Great Firewall: Wie China das Internet verändert“: Insightful German podcast about internet censorship and China. Between the lines many good arguments why it’s so important to keep fighting for a free and private world wide web.
Websites and Online Magazines
- “What the Future Wants“: Online exhibition for every age taking one through several topics about the impact of technology on society. Nice graphics and a good way to start the journey.
- “Netzpolitik.org“: German newspage covering most of what’s going on in – as the name says – internet politics. Great way to keep updated for all levels.
- “Ding Magazine“: Online magazine about the internet and its connections to society and art. If you are not convinced by the content, at least give the website a look for its beautiful and smart design.
- “Fairness and Machine Learning“: Open-source textbook about fairness and machine learning that satisfies both math enthusiasts and philosophical-minded social scientists new to the topic.
Tech discourses can certainly feel like buzzword bonanzas. Beyond the usual mix of daily and weekly newsoutles and tech-related newsletters, I find it helpful to follow discourses among and between relevant stakeholder groups on social media. Beyond, the following list of news sources helped me to understand tech in ’22:
- “Web3 is Going Just Great“: If you are looking for a more critical, perhaps realisitc, news feed on everything Web3 to balance out the positivism and hype that surrounds everything blockchain, this blog is for you!
- “Wired: 5 Minutes“: In these short videos, experts from e.g. quantum computing or nanotechnology explain one concepts on five different levels of complexity: from a child to a colleague. They are not only informative but also make for great case studies of complexity reduction. I can just recommend everybody to try the thought experiment of explaining something close to your work as simple as possible. I guarantee you, it is a perfect primer to all kinds of (family) gatherings!
- “Acquired“: If you ever wondered how the biggest technology companies got to where they are today, this podcast by Ben Gilbert and David Rosenthal is for you! The level of detail with which both approach corporate history of industry juggernauts just astonishes me over and over again.
- “Skeptechs“: By discussing tech news in relation to contemporary internet research, hosts Nayana Prakash and Josh Cowls deliver critical perspectives on technology in bite-sized 30 minute briefings.
- “Tech and Politics“: If you are curious about the intersections of technology, media, and politics, this extensive podcast series by Prof. Jungherr might be for you!
- “The Feminist Tech Card Deck“: This print-at-home-able card deck by the tech collective and lab Superrr makes for a great conversation starter. It not only presents players with their feminist tech priciples but also invites them to develop their own narratives.
- “Middle Eats” (food blog): The many great recipies by Obi and Salma not only make for great energy sources but also wonderful centerpieces to every social gathering and overall happiness. For personal experience, I can assure you learning or discussing tech (or everything else) becomes a delight when cooking one of their delicious meals. And yes, they have everything from quick and easy to event cooking recipies.
Disclaimer: I do not listen to podcasts and I do not watch many videos. Hence, my recommendations are text-based, which might not be everyones favorite source of content.
Regularly receiving newsletters, such as TL;DR (daily) and Letters from the Future by ada (weekly on Sunday) have helped me to stay up to date on tech-related discussions and have expanded my knowledge on topics I would otherwise not engage with (space tech and digital art for example).
Another key resource for interesting content for me have been LinkedIn and Twitter. I try to follow interesting profiles – be it Members of the European Parliament or local political representatives, researchers, institutes, or people who work in big tech, VCs and startups. For you, these people and organizations could be active in your main areas of interest as well as outside of it. If you are looking for inspiration on whom to follow, check out, who people you find interesting follow!
Some research institutes and think tanks in Europe that might be interesting to follow (to learn about the content they produce, but also about upcoming events and conferences):
Research Institutes across Europe
- OII (Oxford, England)
- Nordic Centre for Internet and Society (Oslo, Norway)
- Hiig (Berlin, Germany)
- Nexa Center for Internet and Society (Turin, Italy)
- Center for Internet and Society (Paris, France)
- Institute for Law, Technology, and Society (Tilburg, Netherlands)
- Digital Center/Centrum Cyfrowe (Warsaw, Poland)
- Center for Media, Data and Society (Budapest, Hungary)
- UMB Data&Society Lab (Banská Bystrica, Slovakia)
- Center for Advanced Research in Information and Communication Technologies & Society (Salzburg, Austria)
- TUM Think Tank (Munich, Germany)
- Open Data Institute (London, England)
- Global Public Policy Institute (Berlin, Germany)
- Future Policy Lab (Madrid, Spain)
- European Policy Centre (Brussels, Belgium)
- European Council on Foreign Relations (Brussels, Belgium)
- Diplo Foundation (Geneva, Switzerland)
- Open Knowledge Foundation (London, England)
Other websites and sources
- Twitter (and meet-up) community based in London: TechXPolicy
- Young Professionals in Foreign Policy
- UN Envoy on Youth (Twitter)
- UN Envoy on Technology (Twitter)
Identifying as a techie, my day to day life in and beyond my studies is full of (you guessed it!) tech topics! I can specifically recommend the following news sources and videos: