Why fascism is so tempting— and how your data could power it - Yuval Noah Harari
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How did Hitler rise to power?
Decades after the fall of the Third Reich, it feels impossible to understand how Adolf Hitler, the tyrant who orchestrated one of the largest genocides in human history, could ever have risen to power in a democratic country. So how did it happen, and could it happen again? Alex Gendler and Anthony Hazard dive into the history and circumstances that allowed Hitler to become Führer of Germany.
Facebook's role in Brexit-- and the threat to democracy
In an unmissable talk, journalist Carole Cadwalladr digs into one of the most perplexing events in recent times: the UK's super-close 2016 vote to leave the European Union. Tracking the result to a barrage of misleading Facebook ads targeted at vulnerable Brexit swing voters -- and linking the same players and tactics to the 2016 US presidential election -- Cadwalladr calls out the "gods of Silicon Valley" for being on the wrong side of history and asks: Are free and fair elections a thing of the past?
The rise of modern populism
In many democratic countries, charismatic leaders vilify political opponents, disparage institutions, and claim to be for the people. Some critics label this approach as authoritarian or fascist, while others argue that these leaders are manipulating voters. This style of politics goes by the name of populism. Takis S. Pappas explores the phenomenon and the lasting impact it can have on a country.
What obligation do social media platforms have to the greater good?
Social media has become our new home. Can we build it better? Taking design cues from urban planners and social scientists, technologist Eli Pariser shows how the problems we're encountering on digital platforms aren't all that new -- and shares how, by following the model of thriving towns and cities, we can create trustworthy online communities.
How Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google manipulate our emotions
The combined market capitalization of Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google is now equivalent to the GDP of India. How did these four companies come to infiltrate our lives so completely? In a spectacular rant, Scott Galloway shares insights and eye-opening stats about their dominance and motivation -- and what happens when a society prizes shareholder value over everything else.
Do politics make us irrational?
Can someone’s political identity actually affect their ability to process information? The answer lies in a cognitive phenomenon known as partisanship. While identifying with social groups is an essential and healthy part of life, it can become a problem when the group’s beliefs are at odds with reality. So how can we recognize and combat partisanship? Jay Van Bavel shares helpful strategies.
How Facebook profits from polarization
"Lies are more engaging online than truth," says former CIA analyst and diplomat Yaël Eisenstat. "As long as [social media] algorithms' goals are to keep us engaged, they will feed us the poison that plays to our worst instincts and human weaknesses." In this bold talk, Eisenstat explores how social media companies like Facebook incentivize inflammatory content, contributing to a culture of political polarization and mistrust -- and calls on governments to hold these platforms accountable in order to protect civil discourse and democracy.
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