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The internet was meant to set us free. But have we unwittingly handed too much away to shadowy powers behind a wall of code, all manipulated by a handful of Silicon Valley utopians, ad men, and venture capitalists? And, in light of recent data breach scandals around companies like Facebook and Cambridge Analytica, what does that mean for democracy, our delicately balanced system of government that was created long before big data, total information, and artificial intelligence?
In his new book "The People Vs Tech", Jamie Bartlett argues that through our unquestioning embrace of big tech, the building blocks of democracy are slowly being removed. The middle class is being eroded, sovereign authority and civil society is weakened, and we citizens are losing our critical faculties, maybe even our free will.
"The People Vs Tech" contains an enthralling account of how our fragile political system is being threatened by the digital revolution. Jamie explains that by upholding six key pillars of democracy, we can save it before it is too late. We need to become active citizens, uphold a shared democratic culture, protect free elections, promote equality, safeguard competitive and civic freedoms, and trust in a sovereign authority.
The stakes couldn’t be higher. Unless we radically alter our course, democracy will join feudalism, supreme monarchies and communism as just another political experiment that quietly disappeared.
In this London Futurists Hangout on Air live video conversation, Jamie Bartlett will be reviewing key themes from his book, and answering questions raised in real time by audience members.
== Logistics ==
The event will be broadcast live on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mlwMC2eo780.
The start time will be 8pm UK time on Monday 4th June. To find that time in another timezone, see https://www.timeanddate.com/worldclock/converter.html?iso=20180604T190000&p1=136.
The participants in the video discussion will respond to selected audience input raised via the "Live chat" feature of YouTube.
There is no fee to attend, and no formal registration process. Just point your browser at the above YouTube URL a few minutes before the meeting is due to start.
== Video participants ==
Jamie Bartlett is the Director of the Centre for the Analysis of Social Media at the think-tank Demos. He is also the bestselling author of "The Dark Net, an examination of the hidden corners of the internet" and "Radicals Chasing Utopia: Inside the Rogue Movements Trying to Change the World".
Jamie also writes on technology for the Spectator, the Telegraph and for several other publications on how the internet is changing politics and society. In 2017 Jamie presented the two-part BBC TWO documentary series The Secrets of Silicon Valley. He lives in London.
In this Hangout on Air, Jamie will be joined in conversation by David Wood, chair of London Futurists.
For more information about "The People Vs Tech", see https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/599667/the-people-vs-tech-by-jamie-bartlett/9781524744373/.