The Edinburgh festivals are now well underway in Scotland’s capital city. I love this time of year, and try to fit in as many shows as possible around my work commitments. One week into the Fringe I have already seen ten shows, and I have plenty of tickets for several more between now and 25th August. I am particularly looking forward to two performances, both of which are highly relevant to my work at Edinburgh Napier University.
Over Easter I read The Circle by Dave Eggers. I wouldn’t normally blog about my recreational reading, but there is such a strong overlap between the themes of the novel and my research and teaching interests that I have decided to post my review here.
The Circle by Dave Eggers
The tale’s main setting is the Silicon Valley campus of a tech company in the not too distant future. The Circle has already gobbled up several other familiar enterprises and, as such, may be conceived as a fictional amalgamation of companies such as Google, Facebook, Amazon, and Twitter. Its earnest workforce is involved in numerous innovative projects to make the world a “better” place where communities are safe, and a genuine democracy works for the good of all. Circle technologists work on a bewilderingly wide range of innovations that include, for example, systems to eradicate criminal dangers such as child abduction and to guard against political corruption.
The Research Councils UK Digital Economy (DE) theme supports research to realise the transformational impact of digital technologies on aspects of community life, cultural experiences, future society, and the economy.
Last week I served as a mentor for the Engineering and Physical Science Research Council in Cheshire at a one-week sandpit event (a form of interactive workshop, and one that appears to have been misunderstood by Private Eye, as can be seen below). My fellow mentors were Professor Richard Harper of Microsoft Research in Cambridge, Professor Bruce Brown of the University of Brighton, and Professor Pete Edwards of the University of Aberdeen. Pete also served as the sandpit director. The aim of the sandpit was to stimulate thinking in promising new areas of the digital economy (DE) research theme.