Hello, I'm Katja. I'm a writer, researcher and frequent commentator on the future of the internet and emerging technologies, with a particular focus on how new innovation might rewire our democracies, economies and (geo-)political order.
This is my personal website and blog where I collect my own writing and ideas (get in touch if you'd like to collaborate!). You can also sign-up for my biweekly newsletter on substack.
If you are interested in my work at Nesta, and the
EU-funded internet policy research programme I lead there, please see here.
I am a principal researcher and data scientist at innovation think tank Nesta, where I lead the work programme on the future of the internet and emerging technologies such as AI. In my work as a foresight- and policy researcher, I regularly write about the ways in which innovation is rewiring our democracies, economies and globalised world order, with a particular focus on Europe and the United States. I am particularly interested in the impact of new technology on our physical space and the planet - from the future of warfare and geopolitical conflict, to climate change, to the emergence of new urban and rural environments.
For the past couple of years, I’ve secured funding for and led two large EU-funded research programmes: EU Engineroom (2017-2019), and currently NGI Forward (2019-2021), a €3 million, 7-partner project which helps the European Commission come up with a strategic vision for a more democratic and resilient internet by 2030.
I regularly comment on topics related to the political and social impact of technology, the data economy and digital innovation in the media, such as the BBC’s Today Programme, Wired, the BBC News, Quartz and the Financial Times, and speak at conferences and events. In 2018, I was selected to take part in the BBC’s Women Expert Programme, a leadership academy for women media voices. I sit on the advisory board of three major EU-funded projects: LEDGER, NGIAtlantic and Tetra.
Before moving to London six years ago, I spent four years studying and working in Boston. I received a joint degree in economics and political science from Wellesley College in 2014, and worked on new sustainable models for urban transportation at the MIT Media Lab. I am originally from Amsterdam in the Netherlands.
Finding CTRL Book
Finding CTRL (April 2019) is both a physical and online book, which brings together radical, positive visions about the future of the internet from over fifteen countries. The compendium features contributions by luminaries such as Shoshana Zuboff, Saskia Sassen, Jimmy Wales and Toomas Hendrik Ilves, as well as art works, films short stories and essays by a range of very exciting emerging and established voices. I co-curated (with Amelia Tait and Caroline Back) and wrote the foreword, interactive timeline, and several other parts of this collection.
The book has had over 200,000 readers to date, and was featured in the FT, on the BBC Today Programme and in several other UK and international publications.
Blogs, pieces and reports
While most of my current work is aimed at policy-makers, I also enjoy writing pieces for a more general audience that surface early trends and signals of change. Below you can find some examples of pieces I’ve written over the years.
A vision for 2030 (report, September 2020) [Nesta; mirror]:
The Great Unwinding: charting post-COVID futures for the internet (longread, May 2020): [Nesta; mirror]
‘Deepfake’ videos get weaponised (blog, December 2018) [Nesta; mirror]
Ten challenges for the internet (October 2018) [Nesta; mirror]
The year the internet goes green (blog, December 2017) [Nesta; mirror]
Only 9% of GE2017 contenders have a STEM degree: why this is a problem (data blog, May 2017) [Nesta; mirror]
The Splinternet (blog, December 2016) [Nesta; mirror]
When will we finally see another woman win a Nobel Prize in economics? (blog, October 2016) [Nesta; mirror]
Pokémon Go and the marketing agencies of the augmented world (blog, July 2016) [Nesta; mirror]
Who rules the internet? Getting under the skin of one of today’s trickiest cross-border policy questions (blog, February 2016) [Nesta; mirror]
Media + public speaking
I regularly comment on topics related to the (geo)political and social impact of emerging technologies. I’ve been featured on the BBC Today Programme, the BBC World Service and the BBC News, and quoted in publications such as the Financial Times, the BBC News Online, Wired, NRC, Discover Magazine and Quartz.
I also took part in the 2018 cohort of the BBC Women Expert programme, a highly-selective leadership academy for women media voices.
I regularly speak at conferences and take part in panel discussions across Europe and beyond. Recent speaking engagements include tech-centered events such as the Mobile World Congress, MozFest, IAM Internet, 4YFN, CYBERSEC Forum, NRCLive, BBC Public Spaces, LORCA Live, CSCC, Hogan Lovells tech seminars, Directors Cut, the DECODE Symposium, and the Internet Governance Forum (IGF). I’ve spoken at the European Parliament, and academic conferences at, for example, Oxford, UCL, the University of Amsterdam, the University of Sussex (SPRU), the University of Warsaw, Royal Holloway and Cambridge.
At Nesta, I hosted the Reimagining the Internet event series, curated the emerging technology strand of the FutureFest festival and most recently co-organised our flagship NGI Policy Summit together with the City of Amsterdam.
From: Deepfakes: Hollywood’s quest to create the perfect digital human (Tim Bradshaw, Financial Times Oct 2019)
From: Europe vs Silicon Valley: behind enemy lines with the woman deciding Google's fate (Rowland Mawthorpe, Wired, June 2017)