The increasing use of facial recognition software by security services introduces a new era of surveillance. With it, public anonymity can be eliminated in a stroke. So why does the recent EU white paper on AI make no reference to the democratic risks posed by the new technology?
Read more than 6000 articles in 35 languages from over 90 cultural journals and associates.
How Big Tech – especially Digital Health – is eroding the social contract
Big Tech and its applications are often hailed as a way of democratizing healthcare. But who is really benefitting from Big Tech’s increasing involvement in public services such as health? And does a focus on the privacy implications of the Big Tech revolution cause us to overlook its social impacts?
On the race to regulate Big Tech
Calls for the regulation of Big Tech are being heard across the board, as the monopoly-dominated economy undergoes ideological collapse. At least three approaches to regulation are currently on offer. But only one can properly meet the challenge that Big Tech poses to democracy.
Eastern members of the EU are experiencing extreme depopulation, due to a combination of mass emigration and low birth rates. Nationalist governments pander to patriotic sentiments but consistently fail to address the social and political problems which drive young adults westwards.
The combination of attention engineering and targeted disinformation is destroying the democratic public sphere. What is the solution? Net literacy, though essential, is not enough, argues Howard Rheingold. The monopoly power of the internet companies must be curbed.
Reimagining social democracy for the 21st century
The great social democratic achievements of the twentieth century were in institutional innovation. By engaging with the risks posed to democracy by Big Tech, social democracy can both revive this tradition and reimagine its role. But that means leaving the comfort zone of regulation and campaigning for radically different technological infrastructures.
Thinking about ‘what to do’ about disinformation means understanding information’s positive quality as a public good. Abandoning a purely reactive strategy will stand democracies in better stead. Contributions to the new Eurozine focal point ‘Information: A public good’ reflect this way of thinking.
Eurozine podcast pt. 1: The changing face of the media
Regulation of media platforms has become an increasingly popular response to the challenges posed by disinformation and hyper-partisanship. But does regulation set a new set of traps for free speech and media diversity? And is it even adequate to the problem?
‘My pain is deciphered and therefore human. She, on the other hand is a muted creature; easier to misinterpret and, finally, dehumanize.’ Ece Temelkuran describes her deep unease at being referred to as an ‘exile’ and how, despite that public role, she shares a fundamental experience with the unnamed refugee.
Information aggressors are not ‘reinventing the wheel’ but exploiting existing media mechanisms and political weaknesses. Journalists have a choice: ignore this fact or accept their role as key players in the security and information space.
Information sovereignty is invoked by autocrats in central Europe to justify media control. However, this should not obscure the concept’s democratic origins. In view of Russia’s ‘hybrid war’, information sovereignty needs to be understood as synonymous with a strong and independent media.
Trump’s 2020 State of the Union address
In the midst of a predictably partisan impeachment trial, Donald Trump said not a word about the ongoing process or his abuse of power that led to it. Democrats may not be able to capitalize on Republicans’ exposed lack of morals in this year’s elections, facing deep fragmentation themselves, chaos in their primary processes and a problematic bid for the presidential nomination from an upbeat billionaire.
Ukrainian art since Maidan
Maidan set art free from the fight for the political agenda, since everything has become a part of the political agenda. On the other hand, the rapidly accelerating political and geopolitical changes brought several challenges for artists.
The illiberal backlash cannot be sanitized through conventional political morality: liberal democracy must redefine itself in order to win back credibility. Literature and literary debate are not necessarily where that process will start. But if they succumb to dogmatism, it is hard to see where else free thought will flourish.
A response to Dan Hind
Social media’s commercial colonization of the internet is clearly detrimental to the public interest. However, calls for an ‘information commons’ go too far: rather, those who own the new information channels must comply with rules set by democratic process.
Philipp Ther talks neoliberalism’s toll on the peripheries
After ’89, the ideology of ‘free’ markets prevailed not just in eastern Europe, but also in the West. The consequences were particularly evident in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis and the 2010 euro crisis. What effect did the economic restructuring have on the European project and what are the key issues facing Europe today?