Register Lectures tackle war and power... in the digital world at least

Mists? Mellowness? Not at these talks...

Andy Stanford-Clark lecture

Lectures If mists and mellow fruitfulness aren't your thing, celebrate Autumn by joining us for a pair of hard-hitting Register lectures which examine some of the pricklier issues dogging the digital world.

On October 17, Brian Alleyne, of the Department of Sociology at Goldsmiths, will join us to discuss how geek and hacker culture has always tended to fracture along techno-tribal lines. As a former programmer turned sociologist, Brian is the perfect guide to the, let's say, heated exchanges and tribal conflicts that reach back to the earliest days of personal computing, through games console flamewars, Mac vs PC, Android vs iOS, and the ongoing Linux vs everything else.

Brian will show how these platform war stories construct the "self" and the "enemy" and how these stories display features of "schismogenesis" – in this case a process of mutually reinforcing amplification of minor differences into major divides. You can buy tickets for Brian's talk here.

Once we've sorted out why techies are forever at war, we'll turn our minds to who is really pulling the strings in the digital, and non-digital, world these days.

Carl Miller will join us on November 7 to talk about his efforts to track down and expose the new forms of power that shape, guide and limit each of our lives, on and offline. Carl is the co-founder of the Centre for the Analysis of Social Media and a visiting fellow at Kings College London, and has researched all this for his upcoming book, Power, due next year, which will examine how control and liberation are wrapped up together in the digital age.

Carl's investigations have taken him from interviews with South Korea's hikikomori – who never, ever leave home, and live their lives entirely online – to rockstar e-sports gamers, Russia's lords of fake news and disinformation, and the political parties obsessed with digital campaigning. Full details and tickets here.

Both talks take place at the Yorkshire Grey on Theobalds Road, London. The doors will be open from 6.30pm, with the talk proper kicking off at 7pm. And yes, there'll be refreshments, both liquid and solid, on hand.

After the lecture, we'll break for a drink and a bite, before opening the floor to what should be – given the touchy nature of the topics at hand – a raucous Q&A session.

So, what are you waiting for? Book your ticket now and refuel your brain. ®


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