We talk to historian Sarah Churchwell about the Gilded Age in late nineteenth century America and the comparisons with today. Rampant inequality, racial conflict, fights over immigration, technological revolution: is Trump's America repeating the pattern or is it something new?
We talk to Shoshana Zuboff about The Age of Surveillance Capitalism, her game-changing account of what's gone wrong with the world of big tech and how to fix it. What is surveillance power and why is it destroying the things we value? How have we allowed this to happen? Where will the resistance come from? Plus we ask whether the real problem here is technology or capitalism itself. With John Naughton.
David talks to Jennifer Cobbe about whether machines can think for themselves, and what this means for politics.
Before we get stuck into 2018, we go back to the sixteenth century to explore another technology revolution that overthrew the established order. John Naughton recently published his 95 theses for the digital age and we talk to John about the theology of technopoly and the Church of Facebook. Plus we're joined by Helen to discuss the parallels between the current revolt against the elites and what happened five hundred years ago. From Gutenberg to Zuckerberg: where does this story end?
David talks to writer and philosopher John Gray about pretty much everything, from the Corbyn cult to the craziness of cryogenics. John tells us how to make the connections between technology, populism and religion and he explains why the worst may be still to come. Plus we ask whether democracy is really finished. A conversation about the big stuff, recorded in the stationery cupboard at the London Review of Books.
This week we talk to James Williams, winner of the inaugural Nine Dots Prize, which offered $100,000 for the best answer to the question: 'Are digital technologies making politics impossible?' James used to work at Google and he channeled his experiences for his prize-winning entry. He tells us what he learned there and what it means to live in the attention economy. Plus we discuss how Trump has managed to monopolise the attention of the entire world. Along with the money, James now has to write a book with his answer - we'll be checking in with him along the way to see how he's getting on. With John Naughton.