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Health, Sports & Psychology

Cybertalk: Biographies

Updated Tuesday 8th May 2007

Short biographies of the contributors to the Cybertalk programme, from the BBC/OU's series Digital Planet

Lesley Aiello Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: Used with permission

Lesley Aiello is the head of the department of Anthropology at University College London.

"Species like the Gelado baboon have very large social group sizes and they tend to chatter. They aren't saying anything we'd understand, but there are certain rhythmic patterns and intonations, and this obviously serves an important social function in their society. What we're looking at here is probably analagous to the earliest roots of human language."

Chris Dillon Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: Used with permission

Chris Dillon is a lecturer in the Department of Telematics at the Open University. Currently working with the Digital Communications course team, his research interests involve exploring and understanding the relationships between telematic technologies and society.

"As for corporations, well they've got a real problem. They just can't predict the future so one strategy is to make up stories about the future - stories about the inevitability of technology, how it will improve our lives, how we have to adapt in our own best interests. But these are just stories, we don't have to believe them."

Guy Fielding Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: Used with permission

Guy Fielding a tutor in Social Psychology at University of Oxford and has his own consultancy, Comm Works, to provide consultancy, and training and research which enhances people's use of modern personal telecommunication systems, such as e-mail, online chat, telephone, voice mail, and video-conferencing.

"Communication is really about social relationships. It's about bonding. It's about caring. It's about community and building cohesive groups. And it's only latterly that we've used communication to transfer information."

Judy Gibbons Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: Used with permission

Director, Microsoft Network, UK.
"I think MSN Street absolutely represents what you're going to see everywhere. It isn't just e-mail, it isn't just reference information, it isn't just shopping. It's everything."

Dan Nettle Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: Used with permission

Daniel Nettle is a research fellow in Anthropology at Merton College, Oxford. He conducts research on the evolution, divergence and the extinction of languages.

"If we look at primates we see that they live in very complex, dynamic, social groups. Animals are forming alliances, ganging up on each other, keeping track of who's doing what to whom and so on - in fact in a rudimentary form you see all the elements of human social life and human politics there."

Tom Standage Copyrighted image Icon Copyright: Used with permission

Tom Standage is a journalist with a particular interest in the history and development of science and technology. Standage is science editor for The Economist.

"We like to talk about information overload today, but actually this happened for the first time in the 1860s when business really woke up to the telegraph. The problem with this was that once one business had it, all the other businesses had to adopt it too, because otherwise they couldn't compete."


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