A nervous onlooker’s guide to the 2020 presidential election, which will be fought in four dimensions

This election is not just about where — it’s also about whenWhen states report votes — and which votes are reported first— is likely to have a considerable impact on the perception of who is ahead at any given time.

I have a new blog post about the 2020 US presidential election now up on Medium.

Ethical guidelines for COVID-19 tracing apps

Here we set out 16 questions to assess whether — and to what extent — a contact-tracing app is ethically justifiable. These questions could assist governments, public-health agencies and providers [and] will also help watchdogs and others to scrutinize such technologies.

A comment piece by colleagues Jessica Morley, Rosaria Taddeo, Luciano Floridi and myself was recently published in Nature.

Four Things I Wish I’d Known Before Starting a PhD (Some Of Which I Probably Could Have Guessed And Most Of Which I Was Probably Told At Some Point, But Now Know For Sure)

I’m coming to the end of my first year* as a PhD student at Oxford University’s Internet Institute. It has been a challenging year, in ways both foreseen and not, but it has also been an endlessly fascinating, thought-provoking and perspective-shifting experience. … Here are four things I wish I’d known before starting a PhD.

Deciding how to decide: Six key questions for reducing AI’s democratic deficit

Artificial intelligence (AI) has a “democratic deficit” — and maybe that shouldn’t be a surprise. As Jonnie Penn and others have argued, AI, in conception and application, has long been bound up with the logic and operations of big business. Today, we find AI put to use in an increasing array of socially significant settings, from sifting through CVs to swerving through traffic, many of which continue to serve these corporate interests. (We also find “AI” the brand put to use in the absence of AI the technlogy: a recent study suggests that 40% of start-ups who claim to use AI do not in fact do so.) Nor are governments of all stripes lacking interest in the potential power of AI to patrol and cajole the movements and mindsets of citizens.

Read more at Medium.

“Free Solo” Review: A human-nature documentary as grounded as it is gripping

Rare is the film review that needs to start with a spoiler alert for something which *doesn’t* happen. But so it is for Free Solo, the extraordinary new documentary profiling lifelong climber Alex Honnold as he embarks on an unprecedented feat: scaling Yosemite’s daunting, thousand-metre-high El Capitan Wall without ropes, harnesses, or any other lifeline.

Read more at Medium.