• Franklin Foer

  • Nicholas Thompson

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

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, author of the forthcoming World Without Mind: The Existential Threat of Big Tech, is joined in conversation by Nicholas Thompson.

Franklin Foer is a national correspondent for The Atlantic. He is the former editor of the New Republic and the author of How Soccer Explains the World: An Unlikely Theory of Globalization, which has been translated into twenty-seven languages and a winner of a National Jewish Book Award.

Nicholas Thompson is an American journalist and editor-in-chief of Wired magazine. Previously, Nicholas has served as both a journalist and editor at the New Yorker. He is the author of The Hawk and the Dove: Paul Nitze, George Kennan, and the History of the Cold War and has been a contributor on CBS News, CNN's American Morning, and NBC's Today Show.

Participating units at UC Berkeley: Berkeley Center for New Media; Arts, Technology and Culture Colloquia; and Graduate School of Journalism.