The Fourth Group: A Review of 2018

Two and a half years ago, The Fourth Group was established to shape tech for all, leaving nobody behind. Here are some highlights of what we have achieved as a community in 2018:

  • We have built a global community of 250,000 people from multiple countries in every major continent around the world.
  • We started the #TalkToUsMark campaign calling for Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg to be held to account for breaches of data rights. It has garnered the support of over 177,000 people through a petition on Change.org and achieved two out of three of its asks. We married this with public offline action by delivering the petition to Facebook’s headquarters in London.
  • We started the #TalkToUsTim campaign calling for Apple and Tim Cook to provide transparency over links to child labour in the production of iPhones, MacBooks, and other products.
  • We undertook a global listening campaign through the Global Inquiry into Citizens in the Digital Age, in partnership with 10 organisations, which gave an opportunity for ordinary folk to consider the social implications of technology, and put forward their views on what must be addressed. To achieve this we conducted 12 focus groups in 8 countries, and received 300 in-depth online survey responses from people based in 32 different countries. To download the report and for more details, go to www.weareunitedcitizens.org.
  • We raised awareness of the need for civic engagement in shaping tech via press coverage (Al Jazeera, The Economist, Forbes, WEF Agenda, International Business Times).
  • We published new ideas from thought-leaders to respond to societal problems caused by tech through online media publication, Foreword (www.medium.com/foreword).
  • We delivered workshops on multiple issues, from data rights to the impact of automation on the labour market.
  • We put forward new ideas in the policy/politics/tech spaces, including the AI politician, political entrepreneurship, a union of citizens for the digital age, and the need for democratic globalism in the age of rising nationalism.
  • We delivered talks at global/high-level events.
  • We organised our second annual Politics Summit (www.politicssummit.org), engaging leaders in politics, business, academia, media, campaigning, and civil society.
  • We have been invited to advise governments (UK Centre for Data Ethics, DCMS), supranational organisations (OECD), NGOs (Nesta, Involve, Nuffield Foundation, Big Innovation Centre), and politicians (Council of Europe, Pictfor).
  • We have been invited to advise business (EACD, Google DeepMind, Wetherby’s Bank).
  • For every £1 invested in our community, we delivered £6 worth of output showcasing our value.
  • We built a team of passionate, active, and talented volunteers who have contributed to the cause and to wider society.
  • We launched a crowdfunder to establish a new global democratic membership organisation, United Citizens, to hold tech to account, and recruited our first 100+ members including prominent human rights campaigner Lord David Alton, Nobel Peace Prize nominee and leader of the Umbrella Movement Joshua Wong, and former chair of the House of Lords Select Committee on Artificial Intelligence Lord Clement-Jones.

Thanks to everyone in our community, our partners, colleagues, funders, donors, and friends for making this all possible. We hope you have a lovely festive season and a fantastic end to the year. We look forward to working with you in 2019 to shape tech for all, leaving nobody behind.