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Public Seminar is, above all things, dedicated to the intellectual and cultural work of democracy, and is open to a range of perspectives. Using the New School’s expertise in social science, humanities, design and the creative and performing arts, it aims to begin and sustain conversation. The views expressed by Public Seminar contributors do not necessarily represent those of The New School, or the editors and staff of Public Seminar.
Deceptions and scams in the age of Trump
‘Deep fakes’ – the latest phase in the use of artificial intelligence to simulate reality – are increasingly being used to damage the reputation of political leaders, interfere in elections, and undermine faith in the veracity of public discourse. Concerted action by civil society groups, states and social media intermediaries is the only way to nip this new danger to democracy in the bud.
Postmodernism was conceived largely by the Left as a safeguard against totalizing ideologies. Yet today, it has been appropriated on behalf of an encroaching neo-totalitarianism of the Right. Is French literary theory to blame? And can a philosophy of dissent developed in communist eastern Europe offer an antidote?
A problem with no semantic solution
Is there anything democratic about ‘illiberal democracy’? The temptation to dismiss its proponents as illegitimate is clear but, as Jeffrey C. Isaac argues, it was by openly examining and addressing their claims to act for ‘the people’ that previous authoritarian political movements were successfully challenged.