Rethinking the Internet: How We Lost Control and How to Take it Back

“Move fast and break things,” went the Silicon Valley rallying cry, and for a long time, we cheered along. Big Tech, in its infancy, spouted noble goals of bringing us closer. But now, in its adolescence, it’s testing our boundaries. How much of our personal information should we be willing to divulge? Is social media a greater good, or is it time to start deleting our accounts? Where do we draw the line between a connected and open society and a loss of personal privacy?

PARTICIPANTS: Jaron Lanier, Brett Frischmann, Tim Hwang, Aviv Ovadya, Meredith Whittaker

MODERATOR: Bill Blakemore


This program is part of the BIG IDEAS SERIES, made possible with support from the JOHN TEMPLETON FOUNDATION.

– SUBSCRIBE to our YouTube Channel and “ring the bell” for all the latest videos from WSF
– VISIT our Website:
– LIKE us on Facebook:…
– FOLLOW us on Twitter:


0:07 – Opening film
5:47 – Jaron Lanier intro
6:32 – Mass behavior modification
9:10 – Algorithms in social media
10:30 – Business model of social media
12:02 – Symptoms of social media addiction
13:18 – Following without knowing we’re following
14:44 – Social media role in propagating violence
18:11 – Do we need to abandon the free model?
20:47 – Changing the definition of politics
21:37 – Will anyone’s criticism of social media matter?
22:13 – New panelist intros
23:50 – Is technology turning us into machines?
24:46 – What does the term “AI” really mean?
29:01 – Algorithms in criminal justice
31:21 – Do people understand the threat of manipulation by algorithms?
32:12 – Who are designing these algorithms?
35:07 – Are there institutions where algorithms should never be used?
37:55 – Fake News film
39:31 – People’s susceptibility to fake news on social media
42:11 – Suffering from an “engineered complacency”
43:33 – Is AI changing the way the brain operates?
46:49 – Protecting the privacy of our data
50:48 – How can we make the future of AI and social media more ethical?


– Opening film written / produced / directed by Francesco Paciocco
– Music provided by APM
– Additional images and footage provided by: Getty Images, Shutterstock, Videoblocks

This program was recorded live at the 2018 World Science Festival and has been edited and condensed for YouTube.