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Top Tips from Lauren Vargas

This month we are pleased to hear from Dr Lauren Vargas, keynote speaker at the 2023 Ecsite Conference. Let's find out what keeps Lauren inspired:

Listening to – I find myself continuously recommending and re-listening to the 'Finding our Way' podcast with Prentis Hemphill as I explore how digital intersects with the topics of embodiment, boundaries, harm, and creativity.

Reading – For over two decades, I have tracked every book I have read and how I came to read that book as part of my #BookDNA (I've recently launched a new Substack featuring reading / listening reviews and recommendations). The books I am currently thinking about beyond their covers are: Designing for Situated Knowledge Transformation and The Centenal Cycle trilogy by Malka Older, beginning with Infomacracy.

Following – As a researcher and management consultant, I am obsessed with learning from the past to inform our present and prepare for our future. In this spirit, I follow the musings of Jane McGonigal, IFTF's Director of Game Research and Development and Kate Crawford, Research Professor at USC Annenberg, a Senior Principal Researcher at MSR-NYC, and an Honorary Professor at the University of Sydney.

Things keeping me up at night - Dehumanizing practices in digital technology is a worrying issue that keeps me and many others up at night; in particular, the aspects of digital dehumanization contributing to the spread of misinformation and hate speech the potential for digital technologies to exploit and manipulate individuals, and the use of automated systems making decisions that affect people's lives without any human oversight or intervention, potentially resulting in biased outcomes.

Somewhere I’ve been recently - I recently spent time in Vienna visiting the Vergilius Chapel, an underground crypt next to the Stephansdom. The entrance is located in the Stephansplatz U-Bahn Station! After visiting this location, I think it might appear as a key location in one of my creative writing projects.

Somewhere I’m planning to go - In April, I plan to visit Brazil after seven years to visit friends and family.