• Franklin Foer
  • Nicholas de Monchaux


  • Monday, September 25

    6:30 PM

World Without Mind: The Existential Threat of Big Tech with Franklin Foer and Nicholas de Monchaux

Over the past few decades there has been a revolution in terms of who controls knowledge and information. This rapid change has put us on a path to a world without private contemplation, autonomous thought, or solitary introspection—a world without mind.

Elegantly tracing the intellectual history of computer science—from Descartes and the Enlightenment to Alan Turing to Stuart Brand and the hippie origins of today’s Silicon Valley—Franklin Foer exposes the dark underpinnings of our most idealistic dreams for technology. The corporate ambitions of Google, Facebook, Apple, and Amazon, he argues, are trampling longstanding liberal values, especially intellectual property and privacy. This is a nascent stage in the total automation and homogenization of social, political, and intellectual life. By reclaiming our private authority over how we intellectually engage with the world, we have the power to stem the tide.

Foer, a staff writer for The Atlantic, is joined in conversation by Nicholas de Monchaux, director of the Berkeley Center for New Media and associate professor of architecture and urban design at UC Berkeley.