If you had told Roger McNamee three years ago that he would soon be devoting himself to stopping Facebook from destroying democracy, he would have howled with laughter. He had mentored many tech leaders in his illustrious career as an investor, but few things had made him prouder, or been better for his fund’s bottom line, than his early service to Mark Zuckerberg.
Zucked is McNamee’s intimate reckoning with the catastrophic failure of the head of one of the world’s most powerful companies to face up to the damage he is doing. It’s a story that begins with a series of rude awakenings. First there is the author’s dawning realization that the platform is being manipulated by some very bad actors. Then there is the even more unsettling realization that Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg are unable or unwilling to share his concerns, polite as they may be to his face.
And then comes Brexit and the election of Donald Trump, and the emergence of one horrific piece of news after another about the malign ends to which the Facebook platform has been put.
Data is a new form of infrastructure. Our economies and societies are coming to rely on data, but it is also an emerging battlefield where public interest, individual preference and corporate avarice seem poised to clash.
Massive volumes of data are being generated and processed every day. The data revolution is happening quickly, driving more informed policy making, scientific discovery and business innovation. But there is growing public awareness and concern about how data is collected, used, shared and monetised. How do we get from where we are now to where we might want to be, given the power that access to data confers?
Join Jeni Tennison of the Open Data Institute to learn about why access to data is so important and about the new kinds of institutions that could help ensure that data works in ways that are worthy of our trust.
Adrian Weller & Zoë Webster in conversation with Tabitha Goldstaub
Explainable AI (XAI) is often touted as the solution to our uneasiness about AI. Unlike ‘black box’ machine learning (where even the designers cannot explain why decisions have been reached) its actions can be easily understood – and therefore trusted – by humans.
What should we really be striving for in this area and how likely are we to be able to achieve it? Is there an inevitable trade-off between the power of AI and its transparency? Hear what our panel of experts have to say on these critical questions in the debate around AI and society.
Consumers have unwittingly given over their personal information to an array of private sector aggregators such as Facebook and credit rating agency, Experian. The vulnerabilities this has created have shifted the course of western democracy. But new movements are arising to let people reclaim control of their personal data. What does this potential future look like? What are the possibilities it contains?
Meltwater Founder and CEO on Outside Insight: Navigating a world drowning in data
Despite all the promise of the internet, the way executives make decisions has remained surprisingly unchanged. They continue to focus on observing internal data, which is the result of actions that happened in the past. But this data is historical, biased and tells only part of the story.
Every day, competitors are leaving behind online breadcrumbs filled with valuable external data – from hiring a new employee, to filing a new patent, launching a new product, online ad spend, and social media. Leveraging insights gleaned from this outside information allows companies to look ahead and make more informed decisions. Meltwater CEO Jorn Lyseggen calls this approach Outside Insight.