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Griffith Review 64: The New Disruptors


Technological innovation used to refer to personal, pocket-sized devices and labour-saving hacks. Now, it underpins a global web of interactions beyond our understanding and often beyond our control.

Is this new world utopia, dystopia or something in between? Can we regulate it? Does it define us? From how we communicate to how we vote, how we collaborate to how we consume, how we imagine to how we die: the way we live has been transformed.

These are the discussions that make up the latest Griffith Review, edition 64: The New Disruptors. The essays and analysis in this collection take a wide-ranging look at some of the upheavals and interruptions that have come with our increasingly technological world.

The original pioneers of Silicon Valley dreamed of a better world, but digital disruption has become a threatening catchphrase in recent years. Many of the technologies now at our fingertips are deliberately disruptive, changing industries, economies, politics and institutions, and many facets of our lives from work and romance to art and travel.

These new tools allow us to know more and find out more. We are better connected and our information ecosystem is richer, but new opportunities for manipulation and abuse are also emerging. We’re starting to see the enormity of changes and effects that are already underway, and their ethical, moral and social consequences are huge. 

Meet two of the contributors, Ellen Broad and Tom Sear in conversation with Griffith Review editor, Ashley Hay.

Tickets: $15 (includes a complimentary glass of wine or juice)



Ellen Broad was Head of Policy for the Open Data Institute (ODI), an international non-profit, and has also worked as ministerial adviser on data to senior UK cabinet minister Elisabeth Truss. She has held roles as Manager of Digital Policy and Projects for the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (Netherlands) and Executive Officer for the Australian Digital Alliance, and is currently Head of Technical Delivery, Consumer Data Standards for CSIRO's Data61. She is an independent consultant on data sharing, open data and AI ethics, and a member of the Australian government's Data Advisory Council. She is the author of Made by Humans: the AI Condition and has written about data for publications including The Guardian, New Scientist and Griffith Review. A board game about data she created with Jeni Tennison, CEO of the Open Data Institute, is being played in 19 countries.


Ashley Hay is a former literary editor of The Bulletin, and a prize-winning author who has published three novels and four books of narrative non-fiction. Her work has won several awards including the 2013 Colin Roderick Prize and the People’s Choice Award in the 2014 NSW Premier’s Prize. She has also been longlisted for the Miles Franklin and the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, and shortlisted for prizes including the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize and the Kibble. In 2014, she edited the anthology Best Australian Science Writing. She is the editor of Griffith Review.

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Tom Sear researches, advises and writes about digital cultures and cyber security. His recent work examines nation state-led social media manipulation in the Australian infosphere, in an era of geo-strategic competition and entangled cyberspace. Tom has contributed to social media analysis at the Oxford Internet Institute, and IoT automation with Cyber Security Oxford. Tom studies techno nationalism, data sovereignty and accelerated inhuman cognition in the post-Westphalian stack. This includes the upload of Anzac culture into the digital archive. His publications include Uncanny Valleys and Anzac Avatars: Scaling a Postdigital Gallipoli. Tom is a cyber security adviser to government and is an Industry Fellow and PhD candidate at UNSW Canberra Cyber at the Australian Defence Force Academy (ADFA).

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