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19th December 2018 @ 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm
Future Politics confronts one of the most important questions of our time: how will digital technology transform politics and society? Jamie Susskind argues that rapid and relentless innovation in a range of technologies – from artificial intelligence to virtual reality – will transform the way we live together. A ground-breaking work of political analysis, Future Politics challenges readers to rethink what it means to be free or equal, what it means to have power or property, what it means for a political system to be just or democratic, and proposes ways in which we can – and must – regain control.
The Henry Jackson Society is pleased to invite you to join Jamie Susskind in an exciting discussion about the future of politics and society transformed by digital technology and to be challenged to think about the new policies for new times.
Jamie Susskind is an author, speaker, and practising barrister. A past Fellow of Harvard University’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society, he studied history and politics at Magdalen College, Oxford. He lives in London.
Nikita Malik is the Director of the Centre on Radicalisation and Terrorism (CRT) at the Henry Jackson Society. She is an internationally recognised expert on countering violent extremism, terrorism, and hate-based violence, with a focus on youth deradicalisation. In her role, she has worked with key policy makers and government departments in the UK and globally. A key component of Nikita’s work focuses on the propagation of extremist material online, including on social media platforms and the Darknet. Her research has put forward a number of solutions to foster engagement between UK government policymakers and technology companies.
Jamie Susskind started his speech by talking about how the technological evolution currently taking place now will be as transformational as the invention of writing and will have huge implications, drawing an analogy between how mankind did not move from horses as a means of transportation to faster horse but to automated vehicles.
He went on to identifying what he understood broadly as the main tech changes that are likely to have unprecedented impact on our societies, and politics. He said that the first such change is the way tech is developing increasingly capable systems, and that too at a very fast pace. He gave examples of how AI is now able to perform advanced medical procedures better than the best trained doctors. Susskind identified integrated technologies as the second change that will alter the way we know and understand politics. He explained that by shedding light on how we have moved from room-sized computers to palm sized glass slabs, and how increasingly internet and tech will be integrated into things we never imagined them to be integrated into– clothes, architecture, humans etc- this will blur the difference between online and offline lives. Thirdly, Susskind noted that we are now developing increasingly quantified societies: every two hours now we are able to create as much data as we did from the beginning of life on Earth to 2003. He noted that these changes will have unimaginable results on politics, democracy, freedom and justice. Those who develop and create, and have control over tech, have control over power- and thus these tech companies, or states can impact democracy, freedom and how goods get distributed in society, this is increasingly making software engineers appear as social engineers.
Speaking about how this will impact who controls power, Susskind explained that whoever controls and develops tech, will be able to exercise control by setting the rules and systems of tech by which all of us have to abide. By having access to data and information about us- enough to influence us on an everyday basis, on many levels; and by having a control over perception and deciding for us which side of news stories we consume, thus shaping our opinions. He noted how tech companies and states like China are increasingly able to tighten their control over people through these means. He also gave examples of how tech, for example, through AI analyzing and reading CVs is able to exercise control over job markets and wealth distribution. In the Q and A session, he was asked questions about a variety of topics including fake news, labour market and tech, the need to impart philosophical/moral training to people who develop tech, and subsequently the need for policy makers to be well versed with tech, so that they can legislate on it.