James Williams writes about the philosophy and ethics of technology. He is particularly interested in advancing freedom of thought and wellbeing in environments of highly persuasive design.
His first book, Stand Out of Our Light: Freedom and Resistance in the Attention Economy, was published in June by Cambridge University Press as an outcome of the inaugural Nine Dots Prize, which he won in 2017. The Observer hailed it as ‘a landmark book,’ Financial Times described it as ‘an absorbing and deeply disturbing book, and TechCrunch called it ‘an instant classic in the field of tech ethics.’
Additionally, the President of Princeton University recently selected Stand Out of Our Light as this year’s ‘pre-read’ book, which all incoming Princeton students will be assigned to read before commencing their studies.
James received his PhD from Oxford, where he studied at Balliol College and the Oxford Internet Institute, under Professor Luciano Floridi. James continues to be a research associate at the OII’s Digital Ethics Lab and has also been a visiting researcher at the Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics, a tutor in the Oxford Computer Science department, and a visiting fellow at the Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences, & Humanities (CRASSH), University of Cambridge.
Previously, James worked at Google for over ten years, where he received the Founder’s Award, the company’s highest honor, for his work on search advertising. He is also a co-founder of the Time Well Spent campaign; a consultant across industry, academic, non-profit, and governmental sectors; a frequent commentator on technology issues in the media; and has written on technology topics for The Observer, WIRED, and other publications. Prior to his professional and academic work, James earned a master’s in product design engineering and an undergraduate degree in literature.