‘Ask the Expert’ – The social and political challenges of automation, the platform economy and social media

The SMF’s ‘Ask The Expert’ series, in association with the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), brings academic research on public policy into the heart of Westminster.

The platform economy and social media are well-established factors in our social and political lives.  Automation is emerging and is part of a vision of a 4th Industrial Revolution.  These developments are to some extent distinctive as well as being connected because of the logic of digital networks.  These changes are raising challenges and questions in ensuring that our social and political institutions are ready and fit for purpose in socio-technical change.

This seminar featured Bridgette Wessels, Professor of Sociology at Newcastle University, who argued that ‘being fit for purpose’ involves ensuring that citizens and institutions have the expertise, capacity and capability to shape digitally enabled futures.

Based on findings from the ESRC funded review ‘Ways of Being in the Digital Age’, in this seminar Professor Wessels addressed concerns such as social cohesion and widening inequality, political connection and disconnection, and education and skills for a deepening digital age.


You can watch a video of the event here.

Professor Bridgette Wessels 
Professor of Sociology, Newcastle University

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