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By Henrik Sætra
The Digital Society lowdown. Or The Digital Slowdown.
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Machines manipulating human destinies w/ Gry Hasselbalch


Digital technology at work w/ Christina J. Colclough
New technologies are an everyday part of modern living - to the joy of some and the chagrin of others. Today we focus on one specific area of life - a relatively large area for most us, namely work! Technology has always been a key part of working. We work to produce technology, we use technology to work, new technologies create new opportunities for work, and make others obsolete. We focus on one particular aspect, however: how new technologies are used to produce massive amounts of data. About people, and about workers. But how is this data used? Who uses it? And might it be time to introduce another layer in the labour-management hierarchy now that that Big Tech companies increasingly permeate the world of work? Listen in and find out as Christine J. Colclough joins TDSlowdown. The Why Not Lab:
February 16, 2022
Machines manipulating human destinies w/ Gry Hasselbalch
How does AI and big data relate to fate, destiny, and the manipulation of human action? Gry Hasselbalch joins TDSlowdown for a discussion about what she refers to as “destiny machines”. We focus on how machines could shape our futures, but also how human agency and culture matters in that we have the potential to take control of our own destinies. We also discuss her new book “Data Ethics of Power: A Human Approach in the Big Data and AI Era, so listen in! Links: Gry’s new book: Gry’s article on the destiny machines: Henrik’s “When nudge comes to shove”: Henrik’s “Tyranny of perceived opinion”:
February 09, 2022
AI, power and the planet w/ Benedetta Brevini
In this episode of TDSlowdown we’ll be discussing power, AI, and the environment. Benedetta Brevini will be joining me, as we’ll discuss her latest book called "Is AI good for the planet?". While AI is routinely presented as the solution of most of the challenges we face, Benedetta argues that there are also potential downsides on the environmental side. Furthermore, as a political economist she highlights the linkages between AI, power and capitalism, which  means we have a lot on our plate in this episode. Link to Benedetta's book "Is AI good for the planet"? Link to Sætra's forthcoming book "AI for the Sustainable Development Goals"  Link to Sætras article: "AI in Context and the Sustainable Development Goals: Factoring in the Unsustainability of the Sociotechnical System"
January 20, 2022
Challenging Robot Rights w/ David Gunkel
As robots become increasingly capable, the debate about the potential of rights for robots is attracting more and more attention. But not everyone is happy with this development, and argue that discussing robot rights is a dangerous distraction. Can the very act of debating robot rights harm marginalised human beings, for example? Does it dehumanise us? Or is it all just an attempted corporate power grab? Who better to answer these questions than David Gunkel, the author of, amongst many other works, the book “Robot Rights”? This episode of TDSlowdown is about challenging robot rights. Both because exploring these issues are challenging, but also because robot rights as a research agende is being challenged. David's book on the subject:
January 13, 2022
AI capabilities, hype, and power w/ Dwayne Monroe
AI hype refers to a situation in which the claimed or perceived capabilities of AI surpasses the actual capabilities of the systems in question. Not all such hype is innocent, however, as the perception that the public, academics, business owners, and politicians have about I shape how they act, invest, behave, and legislate. In today’s episode Dwayne Monroe comes on the TDSlowdown to discuss these issues, and in particular to allow me to dig a bit deeper into his thinking about what he calls AI as propaganda. Here is a link to Dwayne’s article on the subject: And here is a link to a related article I have written on a related subject:
January 02, 2022
Trailer: Welcome to the podcast
Welcome to TDSlowdown! This episode introduces the podcast.  My name is Henrik Skaug Sætra, and if you have suggestions for topics, guests, etc., please reach out on twitter (@tdslowdown , or My profile on Google scholar, for those interesting in seeing more about what sort of content to expect:
December 31, 2021