In this episode, we take a rollercoaster ride with Jamie Bartlett (author and Director of CASM at Demos) through politics, persuasive technology and the Cambridge Analytica scandal. Listen in as we explore the dystopian potential of surveillance, AI, and inequality to corrode the foundations of democracy…
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Jamie is Director of the Centre for the Analysis of Social Media at Demos, a leading cross-party think-tank in the UK that explores power: how it works, and how to distribute it more equally throughout society.
He’s also the author of several fantastic books including The Dark Net and Radicals, and his current work focuses on the ways in which social media, modern communications and technology are changing political and social movements, with a special emphasis on terrorism and radical political movements.
1. What’s your greatest concern for the future?
It’s that we drift into a techno-authoritarianism where we have all the trappings of democracy, but in fact society is run by tiny number of extremely powerful tech savvy elites and most people are perfectly happy with because it means that they’re richer, wealthier and have more gadgets.
2. What’s your greatest hope?
That that doesn’t happen.
3. What single action can we take right now?
Well, obviously, to read my book! Because if you read my book you will find there are 20 suggestions of things that people can do. And so that is the first and most obvious thing.
But joking aside, I suppose a recognition from each person, that the swipes and clicks and shares and online choices that you make are, in some senses, political. They’re all going in to feeding the machine, to feeding the algorithm, to building the society that many of us are getting worried about.
But a recognition that we, all of us, are complicit in this. We have made this happen, therefore we are probably the ones that have the agency to change it. But that’s going to require a much more conscious understanding of the things we do online.
So that’s the awakening thing.
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Written, recorded & produced by Nathalie Nahai © 2018.