Carl combines data and analysis with immersive, first-hand reporting to understand how all of our lives are changing. He's tried to re-create himself from hidden data, visited information warfare bases, exposed autocratic states manipulating Wikipedia, interviewed fake news merchants, lived in a political-technology commune, met Taiwan's digital democrats and become involved in the struggle for control of an online assassination market.
He co-founded the Centre for the Analysis of Social Media at Demos, the first UK think tank institute dedicated to studying the digital world. For the past nine years, he's been its Research Director, building new machine learning-driven approaches to robustly study online life and has written over 20 major studies spanning online electoral interference, radicalisation, digital politics, conspiracy theories, cyber-crime, and Internet governance.
His debut book, The Death of the Gods: The New Global Power Grab was published in 2018 by Penguin RandomHouse, and won the 2019 Transmission Prize. He presents programmes for the BBC's flagship technology show, Click and has written for Wired, New Scientist, the Sunday Times, the Telegraph and the Guardian. He's a Visiting Research Fellow at King's College London, a Senior Fellow at the Institute of Strategic Dialogue, a Fellow at the Global Initiative against Transnational Organised Crime, an Associate of the Imperial War Museum and a member of the Society Board of the British Computing Society.
Carl speaks to audiences around the world about what the digital revolution means to them, including in Parliament, Oxford University, the British Academy, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Cabinet Office, Home Office, Wired, Shell, the Mayor of London, at Latitude Festival, and at large corporate and international events in Chicago, Thailand, Vienna, Leiden, Berlin, California, Kosovo, Prague and Canada.
The death of the GodS
The Death of the Gods: The New Global Power Grab won the 2019 Transmission Prize. It describes Carl’s groundbreaking journey to track down and expose one of the most important things that shapes, guides and limits each of our lives: power.
The journey brought him face-to-face with face with a fake news merchant in Kosovo, cyber-pranksters in Berlin, hikikormori – ‘the departed’, in South Korea who only live online. Amongst the rolling hills of Berkshire, he met British Army information warriors and in Las Vegas the largest gathering of hackers in the world. He has gone on a cyber-crime raid with the police, peered into the mechanics of secret algorithms, built a bot to keep the peace on Twitter, lived in a political-technology commune (twice) and become involved in a struggle for control of an online assassination market.
He traces how a new, digital form of power has chipped away at the old, familiar places where power used to sit; scaring CEOs, forcing politicians to resign, swallowing up newspapers, eclipsing experts, and pulling down companies. For centuries, writers and thinkers have used power as a prism through which to view and understand the world at moments of seismic change.As power escapes from its old bonds, he shows us where it has gone, the shape it now takes and how it touches each of our lives.
Carl writes widely about the pitfalls and promises of the digital age. His interests cover digital politics, cyber-crime, the changing nature of warfare, journalism, the rise of the hackers, the threat of hate speech, the grip of automation and how power is being reshaped. He recently presented a special report for the BBC on fake news merchants.
He has written for Wired, The Economist, The New Scientist, The Telegraph, The Guardian, The Sunday Times, The National, News Week, The Irish Examiner, CityAM, and for a number of websites and academic journals
His appears regularly on national and international media, including BBC News at One, News at Six, BBC Daily Politics, BBC Click, Radio 4 Today Programme, Victoria Derbyshire, BBC World, GMT, Trending, BBC Radio Scotland, Good Morning Scotland, BBC Talkback, World Tonight, 5Live, LBC, ABC, CNN, Sky News, Sky Digital View, and has been Sky’s social media pundit during coverage of a number of by-elections and political debates.
Carl has led over 20 major research projects, publishing formal research both on the effects of the digital world and also new technologies and methods for how it can be studied. He highlighted the influence of conspiracy theories in 2010, called for digital literacy education in 2012. He warned about the rise of crypto-currencies in 2013, and how the digital world was transforming policing. With the former Director of GCHQ, he coined 'SOCMINT' - social media intelligence - and over 2014 and 2015 published a series of technical papers on how the digital world should be studied. In 2015 he led a team monitoring the rise of digital politics over the General Election, and in 2016 worked on using machine learning to measure how social media was targeting minority groups for abuse. In 2017-2018, he led a major technology development project building new ways of detecting the sale of endangered animals and plants across the Internet.