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#12 - A Prescient Account of Big Data: Democracy and Control

Updated: May 24, 2020

Our Foundations Crossover P.3 — In light of the ongoing COVID-19 situation, today’s segment (part three of our three-part crossover with Our Foundations podcast) couldn’t be more apropos. What happens when you equip strategic actors with predictive analytical power? Some may say we’re living it.

In parts one and two, we traversed: the 18th century rise of the liberal public sphere; the 20th century breakdown of communicative-participatory democratic procedures; the 90s burgeoning of neoliberalism; the rise of modern military contractors in post 9/11 America; and the state’s increasing dependence on corporations to fight wars. These constituent parts share at least one common theme: increasingly surgical, private applications of strategic action. In today’s segment, we explore the rise of a new type of strategic actor: the modern technocrat.

Due to the pandemic, industry urgently shifts to digital work environments; people are uniquely dependent on digital social platforms to stay connected. Data is knowledge and knowledge is power accreting around Silicon Valley. Will the technocrats use this power to expand or constrict democracy?

The views expressed on this podcast are our own.

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