Facebook's futures and historical time: progress, global growth, and scalability
Asher received ESRC funding to conduct an Intellectual History of Facebook/Meta. Asher’s research is concerned with how the future has been imagined and predicted in Silicon Valley over the past two decades. Specifically, he focuses on Facebook/Meta and how the company has produced and fought over different iterations of the future. This ranges from utopian visions of the metaverse, images of a globally connected community, as well as a future in which human behaviour can be more accurately predicted and sold. His research seeks to historicize Facebook’s futures. It does so by examining Facebook/Meta as a product of the historical and geographical contexts from which it arose. He explores some of the institutional, discursive and temporal structures that have shaped the futures that Facebook/Meta has constructed. He will also analyse how actors within Facebook/Meta have used language to communicate and convey these visions of the future and reshape shared understandings of what is possible, approaching, and expected.
Asher received an MA in Philosophy & Politics at the University of Edinburgh, where he focused on the history of social and political thought. He received an MSc in Theory and History of International Relations from LSE in 2019, for which he was awarded the Medlicott Prize for his research.
After graduating, he worked as a journalist for several years. In 2017, he received the Peter Kirk Scholarship to research and write on refugee integration in Sweden and Germany. He also covered Science and Technology for the Conversation UK. Between 2019-2021, he reported on British, Irish and Scandinavian politics for the Japanese newspaper The Asahi Shimbun. During this time, he edited several non-fiction books on Politics and Foreign Policy for Nomad Publishing.
Supervisors: Professor Emerita Robin Mansell and Professor Nick Couldry