An Agenda for Rebuilding Our Civic Ideals with Dr. Andrew Briggs and Dr. Dominic Burbidge (podcast)

By Templeton Staff
August 06, 2021
Technology changes the way people interact. As our understanding of community expands in this digitally networked age, so do our responsibilities.

This podcast episode features  Dr. Dominic Burbidge, a lecturer in politics at the University of Oxford and director of the Canterbury Institute, and Dr. Andrew Briggs, a professor of nanomaterials at the University of Oxford. Along with a team of scholars, their study of Citizenship in a Networked Age has led to a carefully crafted report, including seven recommendations in support of their Agenda for Rebuilding Our Civic Ideals.

The report is the product of a two-year research project at the University of Oxford, supported by Templeton World Charity Foundation. Topics examined include big data and big computing, where citizenship starts, new categories of community, and privacy.

From their report: Technology changes the way people interact. As our understanding of community expands in this digitally networked age, so do our responsibilities. The report “diagnoses current social and political changes to our decision-making landscape in the light of rapid technological transformations.” Specific, practical recommendations are made in order to “re-orientate the networked age towards human flourishing.”

Drs. Briggs and Burbidge discuss each of these seven recommendations in this conversation with journalist Richard Sergay.  One of their key points: “The choice is not between citizens and machines, it is about identifying and protecting humans’ uniqueness as moral decision-makers.”  In this conversation, Briggs and Burbidge consider in what ways their study leaves them encouraged by a sense of democracy, as well as what threats and ethical considerations we should be aware of in this digitally networked age of attention economies, artificial intelligence and algorithms.

Learn more about the TWCF-funded research project related to this episode.

Read the transcript from the interview conducted by journalist Richard Sergay, presented by podcast producer Tavia Gilbert. Featuring:  Dr. Andrew Briggs, Professor of Nanomaterials at the University of Oxford, and Dr. Dominic Burbidge, Research Director at the University of Oxford, External Advisor to Templeton World Charity Foundation, Director of the Canterbury Institute. Dr. Burbidge is the report’s lead author.


Built upon the award-winning video series of the same name, Templeton World Charity Foundation’s “Stories of Impact” podcast features stories of new scientific research on human flourishing that translate discoveries into practical tools. Bringing a mix of curiosity, compassion, and creativity, journalist Richard Sergay and producer Tavia Gilbert shine a spotlight on the human impact at the heart of cutting-edge social and scientific research projects supported by TWCF.