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The Existential Threat of Big Tech

Ralph spends the whole hour with journalist Franklin Foer, author of World Without Mind: The Existential Threat of Big Tech, about how the Big Four, Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon are attempting to dominate every aspect of our lives and minds.  Plus, we get Ralph’s take on the Bernie Sanders’ single-payer bill, and he answers more listener questions.

 

Franklin Foer is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and a fellow at the New America Foundation. For seven years, he edited The New Republic magazine. He is the author of How Soccer Explains the World, which has been translated into 27 languages and won a National Jewish Book Award. The Daily Beast called Mr. Foer one of America’s ‘most influential liberal journalists.’  His latest work and the subject of our conversation today is entitled: World Without Mind: The Existential Threat of Big Tech.

“The magical qualities of these devices and inventions can distract us from some of the dark sides.  And the biggest dark side is that all these new technologies are not just automating upper body strength.  They’re not just letting us plow fields.  They’re not just letting us get around in a more efficient sort of way.  These are intellectual technologies.  They stand between us and information. They want to create virtual realities that we’ll inhabit.  They create artificial intelligences, which they hope will be an extension of our own intelligences.  And that makes these companies unusually powerful.” Franklin Foer, author of World Without Mind: The Existential Threat of Big Tech

8 Comments

  1. stephanie says:

    Dear Listeners,
    Someone will glance at this, so I decided to type it. The fellow’s points are obvious for anyone with any common sense left.>? A little too much hope and change for me. (Why can’t anyone states issues of import purely factually??) The point that I wanted to underscore was people have had such arbitrarily LOW credit-ratings, for so long. That this alone turned them away from privacy issues. People pretend this began in the last 15 yrs but it started way before. The youth have been turned into cyborgs. That’s a done deal. PS: not cool for interviewer/ spokesman to bias his statement with “FREE healthcare”. In Calvinist America? National Health Service! The only ONLY mass investment except for repaving roads that were paved two years ago ARE MASSIVE “health” complexes, with mirrors and flags, and flowers. And huge investment in top down medical college training. If you think that is a society headed for NHS I have a bridge to sell you. War will end before we have a NHS. (They are inextricably linked.)

  2. stephanie says:

    Dear Listeners,
    I triple checked spelling. The S was not there in STATES// It is true about Amazon and Walmart et. al. But the larger point IS people don’t have any money/ capital TO MAKE CHOICES even if they wanted to! Trust me mail that goes to their neighbours isn’t first choice. Or mail that never comes. I know you’re “speaking” to a general audience Ralph but the general audience has moved on. They may not be sophisticated, but they are well aware except for the snobs in the 20%, that they have NO CHOICES left to make. College from non-ivy league colleges don’t use banks be/ its seductive. THEY HAVE NO CHOICE. And many are not able to even use them anymore without literally buying their way in to the use of them. I insist that hanging around with people who are so closely tied to the system has given you a slightly jaundiced eye. It is true sociology is dead but people didn’t need it. People need only an honest interpretation of daily events/ and reflection upon. A qualifier: your host does know the implications of FREE in this country, surely. And IMO Sanders was acting cynically introducing that “we’ll cover you soon and hope you don’t die ensuing…” be/ he can use the tired excuse that the democrats don’t have power. THIS is recent. The last decade it’s been the default, “go to” – but it certainly is tired.

  3. William says:

    Maybe this is all part of an eveolutionary arc where a centralized warehouse of product will be readily available. Like Amazon only not privatized. Maybe we will eventually address the failings of capitalism itself that breeds endless repetition of product and services that serve the process and interests of so called entrepeneurs,…. that breeds the profound stagnation of culture caused by planned obsolescence.I think Amazon may be a step to a better world. To have an endless catalogue of product and service at one’s fingertips is not such a bad thing?

  4. Richard Oxman says:

    I humbly and respectfully request an opportunity to do battle with GAFA, using the Tort Museum in Winsted, Connecticut as a base of operations. In solidarity with others, of course. Please contact me at 831-661-0406 at any hour in Aptos, California (or email me at aptosnews@gmail.com) to discuss details. Respectfully, Richard Martin Oxman [THIS IS A CORRECTED SUBMISSION; PREVIOUSLY I OMITTED THE WORD “request”….]

  5. John Gould says:

    Are transcripts available for your shows? This is by far one of the best podcasts I’ve listened to in the past year.

  6. Tom Herzog says:

    As an agnostic I hereby conjure up a beneficent, omnipotent God so I may say with hope, conviction and love, God Bless you, Ralph Nader!

  7. David Faubion says:

    Hypocritical, but honest about it

  8. robert dresdner says:

    Very important for everyone to stop and consider the trends in our society and the World, and to try to preserve what we value, but it is clear that few people are openly doing so beyond the inefficacies and vanities of Twitter; while it’s obvious that technology is becoming unstoppable regardless of the costs and benefits, so long as we EACH passively allow it to do so, there is virtually no discussion in the media re the manifold costs to humanity of technology. Instead, we hear only of the purported “benefits” of technology and de facto R&D companies like Facebook and Amazon, and the destruction of Net Neutrality. We hear in the media only of the purported benefits of technology to “National Security” and our tech dependent economy, and our tech dependent military Empire with its 1,000 overseas military bases and tech based spying by 17 agencies. They are both too powerful and too weak because they are tech dependent. Question technology !!

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