April 17, 2018

How the Internet is Killing Democracy and How We Save It
The Blindness of India’s Prime Minister to the Rape of Young Women and Girls
Chaos in the White House and No Strategy on Syria
Program Notes

We begin with the suspended head of Cambridge Analytica refusing to appear at a U.K. parliamentary inquiry into the misuse of data on 87 million Facebook users in the 2016 election which helped elect Donald Trump and speak with Jamie Bartlett, director of the Center for the Analysis of Social Media at Demos who presented the two-part BBC documentary series “The Secrets of Silicon Valley” and is the author of the new book “The People Versus Tech: How the Internet is Killing Democracy (and how we save it)”. He joins us to discuss the struggle between dataism and humanism and the fight against algorithmic authoritarianism as the titans of Silicon Valley see their future markets in authoritarian states like China and are willing to export their business model of surveillance capitalism to work alongside police-state censorship and surveillance of Chinese citizens who use their platforms. We explore what can be done to save democracy from big data and revive humanism to wean users from their zombie-like addiction to their devices.

Then we examine the explosion of outrage in India over the latest rapes and murders of an eight-year-old girl and of a teenage girl raped over several days by a legislator and his brother who belong to Prime Minister Modi’s ruling BJP party. Dr. Sumit Ganguly, who holds the Rabindranath Tagore Chair in Indian Cultures and Civilizations at Indiana University and is the author of “Ascending India and its State Capacity” joins us to discuss how Modi’s Hindu fundamentalism and patriarchal outlook appears to render him tone-deaf to the plight of poor young women and girls from minority communities who are frequent targets of BJP nationalists.

Then finally we get an update on the fallout following the recent American, French and British bombing of Syria which is widely seen as a futile and militarily insignificant gesture which will not impede the Assad regime from committing its daily acts of brutal depravity against the Syrian people. Henri Barkey, professor of international relations at Lehigh University who served on the State Department’s Policy Planning Staff, joins us to discuss his article at The National “Limited strikes, limited goals and no strategy on Syria” and the state of chaos in Washington where one day the U.S. Representative to the U.N. announces sanctions against Russia then the next day Trump reverses her and gives Putin a free pass yet again.

Jamie Bartlett | Dr. Sumit Ganguly | Henri Barkey