The Internet Is Killing Democracy Facebook Is the Shiny Object, but the Danger Is Much Larger

April 25th, 2018

image2-13-700x470.jpgEmma Gonzalez and David Hogg understood how to maximize social media to achieve the highest in democratic ends. The Russians and Cambridge Analytica used that same social media to undermine democracy, to spread lies, and to manipulate facts.

Recently we’ve seen Mark Zuckerberg and members of Congress musing about the business model of Facebook and the holy grail of hyper-directed advertising. All of this, good and bad, misses the larger point.

In a world that is totally interconnected, when every aspect of  Internet culture feeds steroids to the human tribal instinct, when information moves at the speed of light, and when there is more of it than we have the evolutionary ability to process, is this technology simply antithetical to traditional ideas of democracy? Particularly to the system that our founders passed down to us.

Perhaps it’s no coincidence that as the Internet grows, so to do authoritarian regimes. As tech companies get bigger, democratic institutions become smaller. What is the nexus to all of this and if it’s true, do we have to change tech or change the very idea of democracy?

All of this is at the core of work by Jamie Bartlett in his book The People Vs Tech: How the internet is killing democracy (and how we save it)

My WhoWhatWhy.org conversation with Jamie Bartlett:

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