Sara M. Watson

Sara M. Watson is a technology critic and a Research Fellow at the Tow Center for Digital Journalism at Columbia University. She is also an affiliate with the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University. Her work explores how we are learning to live with, understand, and interpret our personal data and the algorithms that shape our experiences. She investigates the ways that corporations, governments, and individuals use data from wearable sensors, the internet of things, and other digitally processed systems. 

She engages and influences public discourse on technological change in popular culture. Sara immerses herself in emerging technologies to understand its personal impacts firsthand. Her writing has appeared in The Atlantic, Al Jazeera America, Wired, Gizmodo, Harvard Business Review, and Slate

Sara has previously worked as an enterprise technology analyst at The Research Board (Gartner, Inc.), exploring implications of technological trends for Fortune 500 CIOs. She consults with organizations such as Crimson Hexagon, Brightcove, and The World Economic Forum on data practices and policies.

Sara holds an MSc in the Social Science of the Internet with distinction from the Oxford Internet Institute, where her award winning thesis used ethnographic methods to examine the personal data interests of the Quantified Self community. She graduated from Harvard College magna cum laude with a joint degree in English and American Literature and Film Studies. Her disciplinary influences include media studies, science and technology studies, anthropology, and literature. 

Sara is currently based in Singapore, and keeps close ties to Cambridge and New York. She co-hosts the Mindful Cyborgs podcast, and reviews books on Goodreads. In Cambridge, she ran Tech Book Club and Angry Tech Salon at the Berkman Center. She’s married to the brilliant and intrepid Nick R. Smith. She writes a newsletter about her adventures in South East Asia. She enjoys emoji, karaoke, emoji karaoke, and making lists. She tweets @smwat.


Featured Work:

Living with Data series, Al Jazeera America and Gizmodo

Data Doppelgängers and the Uncanny Valley of Personalization, The Atlantic

Constructive Technology Criticism lightening talk

Last updated

October 4, 2015