Samuel Woolley Keynote Speaker
- Founding Director of the Digital Intelligence Lab at the Institute for the Future
- Author 'The Reality Game: How the Next Wave of Technology Will Break the Truth' 2020
- Assistant Professor, University of Texas, Moody College of Communication
Samuel Woolley's Biography
Dr. Samuel Woolley is a writer, researcher and speaker who specializes in the study of disinformation, emergent technology and life online. He and his colleagues were among the first people to uncover the manipulative political use of social media during political events worldwide. They coined the terms “computational propaganda” and “political bot.”
He has worked with numerous academic institutions (Oxford, Stanford, Berkeley), private companies (GSK, Allianz, Google), governmental entities (US Office of the Director of National Intelligence, UK Parliament, NATO), and civil society groups (German Marshall Fund, Anti-Defamation League, National Endowment for Democracy) to translate the complex empirical impacts of computational propaganda to effects on everyday life. He has given talks and hosted workshops on digital manipulation—as it relates to subjects ranging from politics to vaccination to commerce—at venues including Princeton University, Data and Society, SXSW, Google Jigsaw and Mishcon de Reya LLP.
Woolley’s most recent book, “The Reality Game: How the Next Wave of Technology Will Break the Truth”, was published in 2020 by Public Affairs/Hachette. His previous book, “Computational Propaganda,” (2018) is a series of country case studies on how digital tools were used during elections, national disasters and security crises in attempts manipulate public opinion.
Woolley regularly writes publicly on politics and social media for outlets including Wired, the Guardian, Motherboard, TechCrunch, Slate and the Atlantic. For his research, he has been featured in the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal and on NBC’s Today show, PBS’ Frontline and BBC’s News at Ten.
Dr. Woolley is a current faculty member in the School of Journalism at the University of Texas at Austin’s Moody College of Communication. He has current and past academic affiliations with the Project on Democracy and the Internet at Stanford University, the Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society (CITRIS) at UC Berkeley, and at the Oxford Internet Institute at the University of Oxford.
He is the former Director of Research and Co-Founder of the National Science Foundation and European Research Council supported Computational Propaganda Project at the University of Oxford. He is the Founding Director of the Digital Intelligence Lab at the Institute for the Future, a 50-year-old think tank located in the heart of Silicon Valley. He has held research fellowships at the German Marshall Fund of the United States, the Anti-Defamation league, Google Jigsaw, the Tech Policy Lab at the University of Washington, and the Center for Media, Data and Society at Central European University. His research has been supported by large grants from the Hewlett Foundation, the Open Society Foundations, the New Venture Fund for Communications and the Ford Foundation. His research has informed policy in the United States, United Kingdom and other countries around the world. His PhD is from the University of Washington.