Google, fake news and the history of technology – Richard Graham

Google, fake news and the history of technology – Richard Graham


My name’s Richard Graham and I’m a Lecturer
in Contemporary Literature and the Digital in the Department of English Literature here
at the University of Birmingham. My research is all about the convergence of
language, culture and programming. My main topic to date is thinking about Google’s
search engine. How does Google’s search engine make individuals
remember differently? How do we communicate to one another? What ways has it changed our
overall we structure knowledge? Part of my research is about looking back
to the history of different technologies. We can go all the way back to Plato and thinking
about his critiques of the way that people thought about how you really knew something.
And you can go throughout history and see that many of these issues we’ve dealt with
before. And many of them are new and it’s about teasing those things out. Part of using that history is also about looking
at very contemporary issues. One of my publications most recently was looking at the US presidential
election and particularly looking at the influence of fake news. It’s about looking at the way
in which language circulates online, what it does, what’s profitable, how people made
money from misinformation and how it changes democracy and our overall way that we can
communicate and what kind of communities we’re in. Part of it’s that kind of topic, is then asking
really interesting questions, interesting to me about how does that change the way we
see gender or race or any other kinds of identities or the communities that surround these technologies?
How does it make us different people? How does it make us connect to one another? And
putting that in a longer historical philosophical context so that we can kind of try and get
some kind of nuance on how to explore contemporary technologies like Google.

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