How do we approach the digital?
For many, the digital is synonymous with the new or with technological progress. Digital tools certainly provide exciting research opportunities, especially in terms of innovative methodologies. However, we also recognise that a notion of the digital or of a digital society are not in themselves new.
Nicholas Negroponte wrote his popular book ‘Being Digital’ in 1995, for example, and others connect the digital to the histories of computing and calculation, or even the ‘digits’ on the human hand. And while the digital offers new capacities and affordance for researchers and wider society, it is equally caught up in some of our most pressing challenges.
E-waste, trolling, misinformation, surveillance, micro-tasking, platformisation and drone warfare are just as much a product of the digital as anything else. The CDI approaches the digital as a problematic. The digital comprises the full array of computational technologies, from smart phones to search engines, text mining software to recommender systems.
It also includes the many practices and activities that underpin these technologies - development, design, engineering, etc. - and the cultures of use that all technologies rely upon and which are often the source of new innovation. We use ‘digital’, therefore, as an umbrella term for these various and contextually specific configurations of technologies and people that form the basis of inquiries.
We organise and support a variety of research-oriented activities, from networking and public engagement events to talks, debates, sprints and workshops. Through consultation, we support external research funding applications on digital topics and may also provide financial support for pilot studies, proof of concept and other exploratory research activity.
Find out more about the research that our CDI members are engaged with.