My original background is in engineering, robotics and artificial intelligence, but over the years I have become more and more interested in people rather than things. So, nowadays, I do research around how interactive technology fits into, and shapes, our lives and what that might mean for us all in the future.
I have a particular interest in social media and I was the UK’s first Professor in Social Computing; some of my current work in that space includes how people use social platforms to engage with the democratic process – for instance how Scottish Instagram users tried to express themselves pictorially during their #Indyref independence vote, the UK general election and #Brexit.
As I get older I find I’m becoming, perhaps strangely, more left-wing so I also have current interests in how technology might support things like post-capitalist futures, universal minimum wage and – my favourite phrase – Fully Automated Luxury Communism. If I really want to panic people, though, I tell them about my research into the Internet for Dogs and how it might already exist.