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LIMITED TICKETS MAY BE AVAILABLE ON THE DOOR - Is technology making us miserable?

Monday 11 March: 7:30pm - 9:00pm

Jesus College, West Court, Jesus Lane, CB5 8BL


Modern life has provided us with many comforts: we live longer; have ubiquitous access to information and entertainment; and by almost every metric are more ‘prosperous’. So much so that the rest of the world seemingly wants to emulate the ‘prosperous’ Western model. Then why are we so unhappy?

Technology has always had a differential effect in society; it can benefit some at enormous cost to many. However the technology that has built this prosperity might be doing something terrible to us. Scholars such as Sherry Turkle, Tristan Harris, Jaron Lanier and others have sounded the alarm about the dangers of technology and the toll it takes upon our health, happiness, and sense of meaning and belonging in the world. Despite a prevailing sense that technology is ‘bad’, there exists a gulf between evidence and practice: if these dangers are as real as some suggest, how do we catalyze a healthier and more equitable relationship to technology?

In a bid to make customers more conscious of their consumption companies such as Apple have introduced tools such as Screen Time to let users self-regulate their relationship with technology. But what constitutes a ‘healthy’ relationship with technology? How much screen time is too much? This interdisciplinary talk organised by Jesus College Intellectual Forum draws insights from educational theory, psychology, law and social policy, among others, to synthesize these issues and explore what might be possible to achieve.

Christopher Markou
Dr Christopher Markou is a Leverhulme Fellow and Lecturer at the Faculty of Law and a post-doctoral fellow of Jesus College, The University of Cambridge. He is course director of the LLM course ‘AI, Law & Society’ at King’s College London School of Law. His Leverhulme research project ‘Artificial Intelligence and Legal Evolution’ examines how AI and Big Data are changing the nature of legal practice, education, and challenging the conceptual foundations of the legal system. Christopher’s writing on technology law and policy has been featured in outlets such as Scientific American, Newsweek, and The Guardian.

Sarah Steele
Dr Sarah Steele is a Senior Research Associate at Jesus College, Cambridge and an Affiliated Researcher at the Department of Politics and International Relations. She has written previously on clinician use of social media, and explores the pitfalls of social media in the healthcare setting for services and individuals. She often also reflects on gender, celebrity and social media in her work, and has engaged in reflective practice about online micro-aggressions and violence following a backlash to her own work.

Raian Ali
Raian is a Professor in Computing at Bournemouth University, UK. He received his PhD in Software Engineering from the University of Trento, Italy. His research focuses on the engineering of digital motivation solutions (Gamification, Persuasive Technology, Incentive Centred Design, etc.), the elicitation and management of transparency requirements in information systems as well as the design of systems which are receptive and responsive to the feedback of their users, preferably called citizens. Raian has a keen interest in software designs and development processes to help users in combatting Digital Addiction including gaming, social media and gambling. He has been a holder of a European FP7 Marie Curie Grant on the Engineering of Socially-Adaptive Systems (the SOCIAD Project 2013-2017) is leading the EROGamb project funded by GambleAware and Bournemouth University and meant to enable a more intelligent and real-time behavioural awareness technique to prevent and combat problem gambling. Raian is also co-leading the Raian is a founder and coordinator of the Engineering and SOcial informaTICS Research Group (ESOTICS) a Bournemouth University.

Daria Kuss
Dr Daria Kuss' research at Nottingham Trent University concerns the psychological aspects of Internet and technology use. She is specifically interested in understanding potentially pathological and addictive online behaviours, their phenomenological experience, clinical presentation and treatment. She is currently completing her third book, Internet addiction. Her current research projects include, among other things, psychometric, interview, ethnographic and epidemiological studies into Internet, gaming, online social networking and addiction, cyberstalking and the use of gaming and online forums for mental health.

Tyler Shores
Tyler Shores is a PhD student at the Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge and Affiliated Researcher at the Intellectual Forum, Jesus College.
He has previously worked at Google, first in online marketing, and then running the Authors@Google online lecture series, served as director of an international educational nonprofit organization, and most recently worked in online education at Stanford University. He has previously written on the interaction between technology and the social and researches the experience of print and digital mediums, digital technology in education, and the cultural impact of social media. For more on his work, he can be found on Twitter (@tylershores)

Booking Information

Booking required


Accessible toilet, Full access

Additional Information

Age: 15+, Talk, Arrive on time, Free