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Manuscript Workshop with James Williams / Stand Out of Our Light: Freedom and Resistance in the Attention Economy

February 21, 2018 - 2:00pm to 4:00pm
James Williams

The topic of this invitation-only workshop is James Williams' forthcoming book Stand Out of Our Light: Freedom and Persuasion in the Attention Economy. Williams argues that digital technologies are making all forms of politics worth having impossible as they privilege our impulses over our intentions and are ‘designed to exploit our psychological vulnerabilities in order to direct us toward goals that may or may not align with our own’. Stand Out of Our Light considers:

  • How the ‘distractions’ produced by digital technologies are much more profound than minor ‘annoyances’
  • How so-called ‘persuasive’ design is undermining the human will and ‘militating against the possibility of all forms of self-determination’
  • How beginning to ‘assert and defend our freedom of attention’ is an urgent moral and political task

JAMES WILLIAMS has recently attained his DPhil from the Oxford Internet Institute (Digital Ethics lab), where his thesis was entitled "Freedom and Persuasion in the Attention Economy". He is the winner of the inaugural Nine Dots Prize, which posed the question Are Digital Technologies Making Politics Impossible? The manuscript that we'll be reading from and discussing is the book that he has written in answer to this pressing question. Prior to this, James worked at Google, where he received the Founder's Award - the company's highest honor - for his work on advertising products and tools.

Please email Fay Niker ( if you would like to attend.