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Franklin Foer On His New Book “World Without Mind”


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Hugh Hewitt

Oct. 25 2017


Franklin Foer is the author of an important and incredibly informative (and entertaining) new book “World Without Mind: The Existential Threat of Big Tech.”  He joined me this morning to discuss it:






HH: I wrote about it originally in 2004 in a piece for the Weekly Standard called Black Blog Ops, realizing that there would a Carla that would one day exploit what was blogging and is now much more Big Tech. And of course, every secret service is going to use everything that is available, and they’re smarter than the guys and the gals in Silicon Valley who think they’re…that’s, hubris is their problem, Franklin Foer. They think they’re smarter than everyone, because they met at the intersection of need and technology before anyone else did, so they got really rich.

FF: Right.

HH: But that did not infuse them with wisdom.

FF: No, no, and this is the problem, is that as so many decisions and so much power gets concentrated in the hands of a couple big companies, it’s their decisions that have rippling implications for everybody else. And there’s not a whole lot of input that goes into making those decisions. And it’s incredibly invisible. Nobody knows how Facebook’s algorithm works. I mean, it’s a giant black box. And I’m not, you know, I’m not even sure that Mark Zuckerberg fully understands his creation.






As I have said many times the changes I see going on around us are not all going to be sunshine and lollypops, there is a dark side. 

The technology (that little silicon chip) driving all these changes is neither good nor evil, but how it is used is. How it is used is a political/cultural question. 

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Youtube is a threat to our Republic because it is censored and controlled by one party.  


We need to be suing these people and getting them declared a "common carrier"  so they have to carry all traffic,  even that which they don't agree with politically. 


HH: And I am wondering, we’re now 14 years after the launch of Facebook. Do you believe, and I don’t believe this should go to the FCC. I don’t believe they have the ability or the institutional knowledge. Do you think there needs to be a regulatory superstructure on Silicon Valley on the information technology companies, Franklin Foer?

FF: I do, but I wouldn’t leave it at that, because I worry, I actually worry about having the state reach its hand too deeply into realms of speech. You know, I don’t want Facebook regulated as a utility like some people suggest, because to me, that’s pretty dangerous. But what I do want is I want there to be a law that protects data, and we have this pretty profound tradition of anti-monopoly in this country. And we need to update those laws and that thinking. It really goes back to Thomas Jefferson. It’s so deeply embedded in the political tradition of this country. And it needs to be updated and reapplied, because I think it’s possible to curb, it’s possible to curb the power of these companies without having the government play an overwhelming role in their day to day operations.

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