tv Franklin Foer World Without Mind CSPAN October 8, 2017 10:00pm-11:03pm EDT
does the executive director i am thrilled to continue to be involved with this amazing institution. that is why i am here. i want to take a minute to introduce you to heather. [applause] i want to take her for inviting me to this introduction tonight. i have the pleasure of introducing the conversation of an important new book, "world without mind" by then the other they and our oldest son teeeighteen. [applause] also to the manticore part
during tonight i lot of people are here from the mantic -- from the atlantic. there are a bunch of people and we are thankful your co-sponsors tonight. "the atlantic" is a longstanding partner to bring journalism to life through conversations on this stage. tonight this is live stream don the facebook page so if you know, someone who did not make it but wanted to be here to tell them to watch dog mine. one more yvette, september 26, "the atlantic" radio in mantic podcast will be here for conversation with one of the biggest foreign policy challenges of our time, russia.
i feel really at home like i have come full circle of bit over 10 years ago when i became executive director, frank was one of the first people i introduced on this stage when he was said conversation with tom friedman. one of the first things he did to build this institution was formed important partnerships it will the surprise you to know whether first partners was "the new republic." the other thing they're resonates so strongly tonight is how the world has changed in this last decade. ten years ago, if you were following this week that apple launched a the first i felt also 2007, 10 years ago that facebook and twitter
went gold bull and i am created the artificial intelligence system. the tech world went by storm generating unexpected consequences and that is the focus tonight with the book "world without mind." in addition to being our said twice the editor of the new republic, and the author of our soccer explains the world. named one of the top sports books of the decade currently a national correspondent to "the atlantic" and a fellow at dual american foundation. it was just announced this week one of his recent new york times magazine pieces is being turned into a film starring annette bening. tonight frank will be in
conversation with he and i who was one of the most frequent guest on this stage and her capacity as an author and journalist and podcast host is the author of the amazing book the end of men and the rise of women and the co-host of the npr show about the invisible portions that shape human behavior. please join me to welcome frank and hana. [applause] >> hi frank. before we get going they're making it possible for me to order anything from amazon without feeling incredibly
guilty or liking my mom's facebook. >> you should not feel guilty about that you should not feel guilty about by my book on amazon either. [laughter] >> one thing to want to get out of the way people perceive the book is dark which i did not perceive it that way at all. i see is a slap in the face with the sense we have been breeding is there without thinking about it and you just make us aware of the ideology it could have some poison so it is critical. >> guest: yes. there is a dark sci-fi apocalyptic conclusion one could draw from the book but relief it is about technology. has been with us for ever
one of the things that defines us as a human being but i writing about the intentions which all happened in the short span of time that are these totally magical creations. they are not hammers or microphones were things that amplify humans they are merging with us with the intellectual technologies to filter the world and shape our reality. maybe then even becoming virtual reality. the ceos talk about wanting to merge man and machine. >> stop there. that is the first interesting idea. what is the dream of passing human intelligence? can you explain where that comes from?.
>> there are different versions but the most extreme is incredibly popular in silicon valley but a guy who is an incredible into your -- in junior and he has a vision called singularity we will reach a point where machines can create more machines and computer intelligence can surpass human intelligence and once we get to that point and he has a year picked out it is 2045. where the footsteps on the accelerator of technology and you thought the last 10 years would change then it would be spectacular where our brains are uploaded into computers where we can live
forever and it is more blissful bad you can even a bad kid. >> host: the way they'd treatment is beautiful in novels but then it is a disaster. did you think there was something beautiful about it?. >> actually know. [laughter] i think the ideal living for ever to be chilly. chilling. what makes life meaningful if we could live forever and never forced to be human beings not thinking of the end of days? and i have said the prospect to merge
with a machine that is part of a system if you think of a merger with facebook or google or apple. that is the best example bell we have apple on our rest for -- rest. mark zucker bird talks about that that he machine interface so what i find it chilling is that emerging with a machine that is helping me filter reality that is shaped in ways that i cannot even perceived. sorry. is the dark? [laughter]
>> host: yes it is. badges futuristic so that is what could happen to with that philosophical foundation with their utopia. but all lots of the book deals with what is so let's talk about that. and why the book is critical of word monopoly in the course of history that was bad we could regulate monopolies and break them up so what has shifted around the meaning of that word?. >> it has disappeared from the culture except as a board game. starting as the a gilded age
the rise against the railroads and iran into a friend who is a conservative and as they do reading a mission statement for "national review" and he called me over and pointed to me william f. buckley was really against the dangers of monopoly. what you heard about up until the last 25 or 30 years beginning with the article that transformed america as jurisprudence as antitrust fell out of favor to shape policy.
we have a very narrow definition concerned with consumer prices. amazon is awesome. it has the lowest prices the and always will. the algorithms' help it to keep prices low. but if you look at it size and scope there is something problematic about it. so can we let them grow and grow and grow. >> host: haven't we already dug back? we let them take over our lives. >> that's right. all others are fairly narcissus and the issue of
monopoly came when this started to hit home and the publisher over the contract's. >> talk about your experience about writing with the amazon. >> it was the esoteric debate it wanted to set the price for the e books that it sells. that was $9.99. and in the course of doing that basically they deflated bill whole book market which was in terrible for consumers but not great for the book publishers or alternate me for those who write the books. >> host: why do we mind if amazon controls verses book publishers? they used to control the market.
>> in my view we want a marketplace where there is as many players as possible you don't want one dominant firm because what happens ultimately is you are able to pick winners and losers. something's always felt better than others the way certain books are pushed over others. just because books are so important with a huge amount of diversity and the winners in the market we don't want one firm to have that role so publishing is that industry that is not the ideal situation but having
>> there is the story of how the facebook algorithm is neutral. and you have the ability to do that. >> so adjust facebook can general it looks like your friends sharing and that is what is put into your news feed but it would just be massive information so facebook created a set of rules to sort that information to rise to the top of your news feed those
of for sorting things out. those who decide when you take a picture of your family of people like that that makes it higher so the whole system is about getting you to stay other side as long as possible because that is how they make money. so there is this feedback they tried to give you what you want. if you hate to jewish people major hands -- ray shorthand. [laughter] >> they will give you what your -- give you what you want. >> doesn't that create more universe if you were the jew
hater but maybe you were trans gender living in idaho falls. all of you wanted to start the arab spring. not just jew hater but chaos >> so when it comes to politics we are put into to constellations with those warring tribes and they get what they want. so that drives them further and further to their corners even making them more susceptible because if you just eat the things you want to hear that face buck everything is about the
headline. it is a total art to write headlines for facebook you are not looking at the sources of information that it becomes a giant step you a hand over time if that is to erode those distinctions that that is a lot of different steps. >> and dq to convince on others. >> do we care of those threats do journalism but we believe in in a world where
some institution. >> and to make good decisions in a democracy. is not a good choice for president let alone all the choices for society without quality information. >> there are certain people who get to decide. >> in order for us to have a we can trust need to be produced in a certain set of ways. three the expertise that tell us what to think.
>> give me an example. >> look at this last election if you go and look at of pulling especially those that switch from obama the -- obama to donald trump but that information was the stuff of the facebook algorithms some came through advertising were just from news. >> so is the echo chamber so the algorithm creates the world it brings back the era of journalism of. if everybody had their tribe
and then people filtered. >> when i the what happened with facebook it is the erosion. >> host: human intuition? that i am needs without common sense. for truth?. >> here is what i mean. why it is a world without privacy. and this is something we don't understand. so why do be truly care? it isn't just because the public eye for the democracy
there needs to be privacy to make independent decisions if you are always being watched your always conscious your opinion could be held against you read any minute. you need day space outside the watchful eyes for you can arrive in your decision without worrying about your audience. >> host: the people don't seem to want that. looking at that 1984 situation to be manipulated so they are manipulated to believe those things. >> happening between equifax
and kids posting things about other kids cause social media with the track record of our reading habits of google it is happening on so many different fronts really it is the ultimate danger so when we think about privacy we wanted but we don't know why that because we haven't been slapped across the of face we don't really know what we are talking about. >> you slapped herself across the face you slapped many times have you given up anything?. >> so if the book is not
apocalyptic. it is a little disturbing the way that we live now. and it was the problem. >> and to try on the of margins as say horrifying testament to this predicament to be entirely conscious of all the pitfalls and still go along with things. and i see over time when i can put my phone. >> that's it? [laughter] >> i have a whole arsenal
but but it is not trivial. and the disconnect from technology. to me that is the double gave. -- the ball game. that is a problem for society. to apply regulatory solutions or find a better way. to create some true competition. nobody wants to woo drop out because the technologies themselves are pretty great. who wants to drop out of a
search engine? it is all incredibly convenient i would be a hypocrite if i said that is what people should do. but as i think about my day. >> i am asking sincerely and i thought the tender stage and what is happening what should be done at the public policy level but whenever i find myself in a position to bring back the gatekeeper. >> but there are a couple things. give the first subconsciously retreating to the paper book. so with the amazon candle
cave about it was an obsessive and it was so amazing but then there was a moment i found myself going back to paper and i started to ask myself what was it about paper? that was the notion of disconnecting. drop dead it did say bad device that we are on the screen all day long every time you're on the screen you are distracted, connected to the company store, you were tracked, and where you can and disengage. >> that is what you describe
>> the tv dinners came with pots and pans and it is -- tasted great. now we will buck up it was filled with sugar and salt it made us facts. in a concentrated tower with a massive social crisis because of the. i feel the same thing is happening now as being reverse engineered. >> because we are addicted to efficiency and having
been misled we wanted them. >> here is the problem with that metaphor it is a great way choose set up a book. we have created a bifurcated class where there is expensive than everybody else. and it smells a little bit like that. on the one he and the chaos as allowed that they would not have had a voice. >> there is something beautiful with that chaos. >> just as with food we need
to have an unhealthy ecosystem and healthy economy. so i ma and e elitist i will proudly admit that. so take the food example if you have michelle obama tell people how they should eat that is paternalistic. you can lock her but but it helps to ned did the right direction and with culture there are two different models there are always people running the system you can pretend you are just responding to market forces
with people giving exactly what they want that goes down smoothly and is cheap or the old system so the old newspaper editor who got too close to power there were all kinds of things that you could say that shut out a lot of people. but they had sought unconsciounconscio usness of their power and responsibility. there was the idea of citizenship that was imbedded within that. >> generally historically we settle lit like what? like to the gatekeeper?.
>> i think what we want to have happen to take some ownership over what they can do. we want people to care about what they read just like what they eat. restrict themselves to what is acceptable but broadly have day since to make more gratuitous choices. >> host: that is sent to you the best -- the the test -- elitest. now you can wind up if you have questions.
so. >> get the waiting 40 minutes to talk about mark zuckerberg so it there is all this evidence there is this job had happened on his watch and he took no responsibility for it. >> for saying those gatekeepers it is filled with peril. >> and then to except that increase. to tell carpsucker berg you should take responsibility to do a better job they and
hillary. >> but there are problems in the system. and to be less powerful and also through antitrust. >> where a a server haws power because we disagree with them or do we not want that under any circumstances?. >> [laughter] like the storm front. >> i don't take they should have been kicked off but the ways of the advertising like
the of jew hater or rush said advertising that you could make those sorts of issues. en for them to exploit the system. and just demanding authenticity. >> i just want facebook to read mitt the algorithms are not plead but they are biased and everybody takes they are pure. >> i never got to ask why an
apple question. that a vehicle by which we access that is the closest to understanding the building of man and machine that has to be how fast it has transformed. >> buck you laughed out loud because you love your eye from. >> -- i phone. >> i was so focused on the intellectual technology and everything you say i agree with them and that is the up platform and obviously designed to make the last
did what seemed compelling to me. there is a very proud tradition to constrain communication that we just don't tolerate monopolies so the of postal service was the first communications monopoly getting into the telegraph business. we didn't let them get into the telephone business microsoft was the last moment to constrain but then i talked to people at google and said angelou strangle
there. that is to preserve the of monopoly. there is no law that governs that use. second we have to think of data in a different way. companies cannot own the environment. the data broughams to us -- belongs to was that when they handle that they are trusties we should hold them to hire a responsibilities to work on that.
and it is unjust to mergers. id we used to ruth break them up. we seriously constrained ibm these were important moments of the history of technology where government action and to make way for the next new thing. >> there has been conversation about back page about amending the 30 year-old piece of legislation that regulates the internet or if there should be regulated as a publisher and what is your opinion?.
>> i am not well versed by back page is a site with prostitution or sex trafficking happens and google does not accept any responsibility for that. that goes to the core problem that they use themselves as a neutral platform. we saw this with copyright when they would just post anything even though it was my intellectual property they didn't want to take responsibility for that. so if they don't take responsibility then somebody has to step bin to take responsibility for them.
>> i was a writer at this late -- backed slate so you were talking about the journalist and those algorithms so as part of my a job i have to talk about the transformation and radical efforts but across my desk about herpes that oysters are getting a specific strayed of herpes and it is killing them. [laughter] >> inactive as an added to
what you do?. >> with investigator the of journalism. has it been completely taken off the table?. >> or is it you do the same work?. >> like i player ty is. on a daily basis i have to add data traffic drivers. there is only so much time in the day. >> what year you are describing is when the creative industries could
afford to be creative. the purity to the pursuit and pursue those things have been to news satisfy an audience. ultimately something to satisfy that audience that his mechanical. look at the politics. when i was editing the new republic they always had the egos with that mix of writers that other magazines but once it came about satisfying the audience it was almost a business
imperative because that could hurt you with the audience worse than that we were incentivized to please the brace. -- the base and it cannot be good for politics and our culture to have to do that. >> i am trying to take of those creative professions. >> you are a bit stuck? that is what your superiors are expecting. what would happen if you
would pursue those subjects? >> that is likely. [laughter] >> mine is fairly apocalyptic i don't the floor lever outlets but the truth this there are hardly any. >> can then that waterfall journalism they're very is so much space eating fruit that i am not deprived of beautiful things to read so maybe it is more of the internal compass.
asking us not just to be conscious of what we read but. >> is a healthy culture. >> that is optimistic because a lot of people in this country make that decision to get the good stuff you will sacrifice efficiency and engaged in ways that makes you feel more wholesome. but ultimately everybody in media understand exactly did advertising to shift much
ever have a chance to not be in the world with this technology?. >> yes. i continued to think it is possible. >> obviously we could have made better choices along the way it is probably how we navigate there is still opportunities to do better in terms of how we fit into the system. hall we spend our leisure time for pro but over the of course, of the day but i
crave those bases where i can be alone with the idea is and words and thoughts. it is hard it to do with you existed nutrients where you are clicking all the time and worried how people will respond. that is a classic example the awareness of the audience but for over the course of the day people are so on acculturated.
>> and keep debt at. to have that masthead disservice but there is that enhanced product and to that institution more than those 10 percent copies. >> and then to have the establishment journalism of. to engage honda knew were platforms to get back the ground that they lost?. >> it is changing them but
alluded to one possibility the day private discussion among people. but the privacy of thoughts within your own mind. but in the first since what is being lost in that individual private world. does anybody say technology is interfering? is there more you can add?. >> but you are being tracked. there is a material record being kept of the things that you read borers search for in the portrait of your
mind. what was chilling about the project everything that the tech executives said about human nature and eric schmidt boasted google those where you will be tomorrow based on your past patterns within 500 feet and can predict your behavior. so would it surprise you that it is just an affirmation based on your psyche? it has a chilling effect may be now not so much because we choose to ignore the fact we are being tracked but over time that will exact a toll.
i want to say one other thing about this book is as you can tell people questioned these hard questions were there is not be obvious solution. we all have a nagging sense that something is going on and things are changing. and then you wake up you realize you're not marching toward progress. looking at the inequality of our society and all these problems that something has gone wrong in this country in the institutional sort of
way. all of these changes meant to bring progress are not necessarily bringing progress. so in ways that we cannot understand so when he talks about telepathy we did say he doesn't know when he talks about but he hires those best minds and maybe this is just a few steps ahead of us so that core question is what do we want human beings to be? . . . .
and there probably won't be cashiers, and that's just a small taste of what automation could potentially do to us. there's all sorts of things that are happening in our world. we live in a globalized world. political problems and social problems we face in this country have ample causes, but this is really just something where the changes have been. we can see the rise of the corporations, and we can start to think about the choices that we make -- not just in our own lives but as a society. and rather than just drift off into a future, we should be as thoughtful about it as possible. we should be skeptical when skepticism is merited, and we should remember that even if
it's hard to see the ways we have human agencies we still have human agencies. >> i would add that is what i think it's beautiful and critical about the book and everyone will be talking about it because you just can't unless you are aware of the air you are breathing and the life you are living to add what's behind it you can't change it so we didn't understand the ideology behind everything that you're doing and thinking. i think we will end up there. thank you so much for coming. [applause]