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We shop with Amazon, socialize on Facebook, turn to Apple for entertainment, and rely on Google for information. The algorithms of these titanic corporations increase our efficiencies and make life in the 21st century intoxicatingly convenient. But could this digital utopia lead to the total automation and homogenization of social, political, and intellectual life?
Franklin Foer, national correspondent at The Atlantic, sits down with Melissa Chiu, director of the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, for a discussion about the vexing issues posed by the growing power of “Big Technology.” Together they explore the tension between technology and privacy with which everyone who has a digital life has to deal.
Drawing from the intellectual history of computer science—from Descartes and the Enlightenment, to Alan Turing, to the idealist dreams of 1960’s hippie culture, up to today’s Silicon Valley—Foer provides historical context to our current reality in his new book, World Without Mind: The Existential Threat of Big Tech (Penguin Press). He and Chiu examine issues raised in the book, such as whether the companies that market themselves as champions of individuality and pluralism instead press users into conformity and lay waste to privacy.
World Without Mind is available for sale and signing at the conclusion of the program.
S. Dillon Ripley Center
1100 Jefferson Dr SW
Metro: Smithsonian (Mall exit)