Options Techtonic with Mark Hurst: Playlist from October 14, 2019 Options

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Conversations with creators and thinkers who are charting the way forward in a tech-saturated society. Tech, community, video games, and whatever else is next.

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Options October 14, 2019: Astra Taylor, author, "Democracy May Not Exist, But We’ll Miss it When It’s Gone"

Listen to this show: MP3 - 128K |  Pop‑up player! | Add or read comments

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About Astra Taylor

• Twitter: @astradisastra

Democracy May Not Exist, But We’ll Miss it When It’s Gone

whatisdemocracy.info (book and documentary site)

Other tech news

Charter2019.nyc

A Belgian experiment that Aristotle would have approved of (Economist, Oct 3): A Citizens' Council of 24 randomly selected citizens "will come up with the topics and policies which parliamentarians then review, rather than expressing consent to ideas proposed by politicians."

Silicon Valley Runs on Saudi, by Vicki Boykis (past Techtonic guest), who asks, "What does it mean for American innovation to be backed by oil wealth?"

10 Tips to Avoid Leaving Tracks Around the Internet (NYT, Oct 4), by David Pogue. Don't use Google, don't use Gmail, don't use Facebook. (Use DuckDuckGo, and Proton Mail or FastMail, instead.)

Apple Told Some Apple TV+ Show Developers Not To Anger China (BuzzFeed, Oct 11): "We thought trade would bring Western values to China. Instead, it brought Chinese values to Apple." See also Tim Cook Explains Why Apple Sold Out Hong Kong Protestors, Doubles Down (Gizmodo, Oct 10), and China's grip on Apple tightens as it boots a Hong Kong police-tracking app and news app Quartz (Business Insider, Oct 10). As Senator Josh Hawley posts (Oct 10), "Who is really running Apple? Tim Cook or Beijing?"

Five major brands that bowed to China (National Post, Oct 9): "Brands faced with a choice between democracy in Hong Kong or sales in China know the score: 'The Chinese consumer remains the most important.'" Featuring the NBA, Blizzard, Vans, Tiffany, and Givenchy.

How TikTok censors videos that do not please Beijing (Guardian, Sep 25)

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Check out techtonic.fm for recent Techtonic interviews and Little Slice of Tech Pie segments.

PODCAST: Subscribe to the Techtonic podcast

Artist Track Album Images Approx. start time
  Democracy in the digital age: Astra Taylor talks about her book "Democracy May Not Exist, But We'll Miss It When It's Gone."
Tomaš Dvořák  Game Boy Tune   Options Machinarium Soundtrack 
Options
 
  Mark's intro    
Options
 
  Interview with Astra Taylor    
Options
0:12:45 (MP3 | Pop‑up)
  Your comments    
Options
0:41:29 (MP3 | Pop‑up)
The Hood Internet  1979, by Steve Reidell   Options     0:54:32 (MP3 | Pop‑up)

Listener comments!

Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 10/14/19 6:00pm ultradamno:

Hello Mark! Techtlectorate!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 10/14/19 6:01pm listener james from westwood:

Evening, Mark and all!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 10/14/19 6:01pm Bas NL:

Mark! Techtonicals!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 10/14/19 6:01pm Michael 98145:

yup~!
  Mon. 10/14/19 6:01pm melinda:

Howdy
Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 10/14/19 6:02pm Webhamster Henry:

"Wait! Someone said something wrong on the Internet!"
Avatar 🎃 Mon. 10/14/19 6:02pm geezerette:

Pouring myself an icy Tech Tonic with lime.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 10/14/19 6:02pm chresti:

Hi Mark and planet Techton!
Avatar 🎃 Mon. 10/14/19 6:02pm geezerette:

...cheers!
  Mon. 10/14/19 6:04pm John from Florham park:

Hello fellow technoids not going to be on long
Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 10/14/19 6:04pm chresti:

Bottoms up, geez!
Avatar 🎃 Mon. 10/14/19 6:05pm geezerette:

How can you not follow that story?!! Are you kidding?!!!
Avatar 🎃 Mon. 10/14/19 6:05pm geezerette:

Chresti, glug!
Avatar 🎃 Mon. 10/14/19 6:06pm geezerette:

also, clink!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 10/14/19 6:07pm Ken From Hyde Park:

Hello, Mark and the Techno-literate. If we're bashing on China today: www.gizmodo.com... (more facial recognition fiascos)
Avatar 🎃 Mon. 10/14/19 6:08pm geezerette:

Mark, I'm gonna scream now...!!!!!!!!! :(
Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 10/14/19 6:08pm ultradamno:

Tim Apple can't even stand up for his actual last name.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 10/14/19 6:09pm Michael 98145:

Reading assignment : www.nature.com...

"Information gerrymandering in social networks skews collective decision-making"
Avatar 🎃 Mon. 10/14/19 6:09pm geezerette:

We know, Mark, we know.
  Mon. 10/14/19 6:10pm Sam:

Is there any way to track the police in the US?
Avatar Mon. 10/14/19 6:10pm Asmodeus Mozart:

Good Evening, All!
Avatar 🎃 Mon. 10/14/19 6:10pm geezerette:

What the hell do we DO? Rhetorical.
Avatar 🎃 Mon. 10/14/19 6:12pm geezerette:

Hey, Michael!
  Mon. 10/14/19 6:13pm Sam:

We should do like we did in the Cold War - set up transmitters near the border and broadcast South Park and other free information into the country.
Avatar Mon. 10/14/19 6:13pm JakeGould:

Hey Mark! Shared this with you on Twitter, but Apple is removing the Taiwan flag from the emoji keyboard in China, Taiwan and Macau. twitter.com...

The emoji can still be used if you type a suggestion or copy and paste it, but still WTF?!?!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 10/14/19 6:13pm Phillippe Bastille:

Hey
Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 10/14/19 6:15pm ultradamno:

Well, now I've got that Cups song in my head.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 10/14/19 6:15pm Michael 98145:

Hey, gz'ette!
Votes do matter.
Avatar 🎃 Mon. 10/14/19 6:16pm geezerette:

Michael, no argument.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 10/14/19 6:16pm Mark Hurst:

Hi all, thanks for joining tonight!
Avatar 🎃 Mon. 10/14/19 6:17pm herb.nyc:

You can't spell "the USA, democracy" without Marc (sic) Hurst
  Mon. 10/14/19 6:19pm Sam:

On the flip side Mark, China is freer now than its ever been. I don’t think China will turn us into a dictatorship, I think the opposite is more likely, that the market forces from the West will continue to make China more free. The free movement of people makes that inevitable. There are so many Chinese tourists and immigrants all over the west, who get uncensored information which can’t be kept secret forever.
  Mon. 10/14/19 6:19pm David in London:

I wish I didn’t feel this way, but I can’t help feeling that the Western ‘democracies’ are looking at the Chinese social credit system and licking their lips. The only reason they aren’t racing towards it openly are the legacy restraints of the democratic system.
Avatar 🎃 Mon. 10/14/19 6:20pm geezerette:

David in London, I wish I didn't agree.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 10/14/19 6:21pm Webhamster Henry:

AI's will get personhood - otherwise we won't be able to sue them.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 10/14/19 6:22pm Mark Hurst:

@Sam - lots of foreign policy pieces have been written lately on that question, of whether neoliberalism has made China "freer"... it certainly has made it wealthier, but I haven't seen anyone suggest that China has become more democratic.

@David - I think you're right
Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 10/14/19 6:22pm Michael 98145:

Thought for the day. "We are living in someone's past."
Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 10/14/19 6:23pm Michael 98145:

.... look how the "opening" of Russia turned out.
Avatar Mon. 10/14/19 6:23pm JakeGould:

@Sam: The only examples of that working are when the Marshall Plan was implemented and in that case the U.S. transformed into a massive military power after defeating Germany and Japan in World War II. In those cases rebuilding countries and economies were shaped by the U.S.

In contrast when is happening in China and the former Soviet Union is the U.S. being played with the idea of “Look, we’ll enslave some of your people and save you on manufacturing costs. Win-win, right?”
Avatar Swag For Life Member Mon. 10/14/19 6:24pm Revolution Rabbit Nov63:

The USA of course - on paper - is a Republic - as in I pledge allegiance to the... witness the Electoral College...
Avatar 🎃 Mon. 10/14/19 6:24pm geezerette:

Astra, thanks for your positive contribution.
Avatar Mon. 10/14/19 6:25pm JakeGould:

Wealth and freedom are not the same thing. Especially with the imbalance shown elsewhere. And yes, the U.S. has issues but nowhere as bad as elsewhere and what is scary is the example set overseas is informing policy in the U.S.
Avatar Swag For Life Member Mon. 10/14/19 6:25pm Revolution Rabbit Nov63:

Marx thot Capitalism was better than Feudalism was better than Slavery...
Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 10/14/19 6:25pm ultradamno:

I find it odd so much significance is put in the act of singing a name on a line adjacent to an x in the first place.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 10/14/19 6:26pm Mark Hurst:

@Jake - yes - Astra writes about freedom vs equity early on in her book. And yes re rebuilding economies. Neoliberalism for China didn't turn out like the Marshall Plan...
Avatar Swag For Life Member Mon. 10/14/19 6:28pm Revolution Rabbit Nov63:

We 'won the Cold Wat' - & set them up to compete in ' the Market' ...now Drumpf is doing his Artlessness of the Deals...
Avatar Mon. 10/14/19 6:28pm JakeGould:

@MarkHurst: Yeah, and the dark subtext I posit is basically something horrible and destructive would have to happen to China or the former Soviet Union that would put them in a position to truly be receptive to new ideas.

My bet is some alien invasion is the most realistic hope at this point.
Avatar Mon. 10/14/19 6:29pm JakeGould:

I want a bowl of “Cold Wat.”
Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 10/14/19 6:29pm LCBD:

@Mark and all: I wish I had more time right now to listen but at least wanted to make sure you got to see this article in today's NYT.
www.nytimes.com...
Avatar Swag For Life Member Mon. 10/14/19 6:29pm Revolution Rabbit Nov63:

:)
  Mon. 10/14/19 6:30pm Sam:

Just use the internet as little as possible. Problem solved. Plus you’ll feel better. Get outside, talk to people and kill your phone.
Avatar Swag For Life Member Mon. 10/14/19 6:31pm Revolution Rabbit Nov63:

Absurd. People prattling about the 'Free Market' - when Wealth Imbalance is greater than Ted Roosevelt knew...
Avatar Swag For Life Member Mon. 10/14/19 6:33pm Revolution Rabbit Nov63:

Nation State was just an idea.
Avatar Mon. 10/14/19 6:35pm JakeGould:

Property, borders and the means to protect them define nations and locales. Which is why everyone needs to just get off my lawn, please.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 10/14/19 6:35pm Mark Hurst:

Thanks, LCBD, already posted on the playlist to the left! I agree, good piece.
Avatar 🎃 Mon. 10/14/19 6:35pm geezerette:

We were seduced. Disruption was propagandized as a virtue.
I could go on...
Avatar Swag For Life Member Mon. 10/14/19 6:35pm Revolution Rabbit Nov63:

Why is facebook so impervious to Competition ??
Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 10/14/19 6:35pm Mark Hurst:

@Sam, sounds good to me!
Avatar Mon. 10/14/19 6:36pm JakeGould:

@RevRabbit: Because establishing the infrastructure to sustain a massive social network in the modern world is not an easy task.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 10/14/19 6:36pm chris:

RevRab, they purchased (at least) two competitors already. they have deep pockets, i guess, might be one answer to your question.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 10/14/19 6:38pm Mark Hurst:

@chris, correct - Instagram would have been a competitor. No longer. Same with WhatsApp. I suppose TikTok is presenting a challenge to Facebook, though (see links at left) TikTok is strictly censored by the Chinese Communist Party.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 10/14/19 6:38pm ultradamno:

So, out with the electoral college...I'm for it.
Avatar Mon. 10/14/19 6:38pm JakeGould:

Also, how many years can you run a business before either one of two things happen: It fails and you move on or it succeeds and then you are bought out. The irony of the internet is it has created a true feast or famine world for businesses. Either you are nobody or you have a magic idea that gets $$$ thrown at you.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 10/14/19 6:39pm Mark Hurst:

Posted the charter2019.nyc link at left.
Avatar Swag For Life Member Mon. 10/14/19 6:40pm Revolution Rabbit Nov63:

Parliamentary : representational voting instead of winner takes all (consider Florida & its 10s of millions)...
Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 10/14/19 6:40pm Ken From Hyde Park:

̶S̶o̶u̶t̶h̶e̶r̶n̶ American Culture on the Skids
Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 10/14/19 6:43pm Webhamster Henry:

I'm a big fan of Jury Service and would love for all political offices to be deliberated by such truly democratic representation
Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 10/14/19 6:43pm Bas NL:

At it's height Athens in the old days had 1.5 million inhabitants.. of which only 40000 were eligible to vote.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 10/14/19 6:44pm Webhamster Henry:

@JakeGould for the startups I've been involved with, the whole business plan was to get eaten. There's basically no easier money if you can pull it off!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 10/14/19 6:45pm chris:

that was a great interview. thanks, Mark and Astra!
Avatar 🎃 Mon. 10/14/19 6:45pm geezerette:

Mark, thanks for bringing us that great interview.
  Mon. 10/14/19 6:45pm iiibeat:

I've supported being able to cast a vote in every available election during a primary and not being inhibited by the party system. Elections for the people and not the duopoly.
Avatar Mon. 10/14/19 6:45pm JakeGould:

@WebhamsterHenry: Oh, I know! But it’s like endlessly gambling.
Avatar Swag For Life Member Mon. 10/14/19 6:45pm Revolution Rabbit Nov63:

...Athens had major Slavery...
Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 10/14/19 6:46pm Michael 98145:

@WebH, yes! I am constantly overhearing tech-bros bragging about being eaten.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 10/14/19 6:48pm Michael 98145:

pat yer pumpkin
Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 10/14/19 6:48pm Webhamster Henry:

@JAkeGould ahh but the odds are better than gambling. Still really bad, but better than gambling! Real gambling is against mathematics, but with investing you have the possibility of fooling actual "Bigger fools".
  Mon. 10/14/19 6:49pm P-90:

FMU does have its own “ addictive algorithms” though. Just sayin.
Avatar Mon. 10/14/19 6:51pm JakeGould:

@WebhamsterHenry: Without going into details, but I had a maddening experience with the Web 1.0 dot-com boom in the late 1990s/early 2000s. Long story short; I would never recommend anyone doing that ever for any reason.

I’m happy to have found a tech niche aftert that nightmare I feel comfortable in nowadays… But it took me 6+ years after that mess to get my career really out of “I will work for anything!” mode.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 10/14/19 6:53pm Michael 98145:

Stalin may never fully leave the Earth
Avatar 🎃 Mon. 10/14/19 6:54pm geezerette:

or Ayn Rand.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 10/14/19 6:56pm Bas NL:

SM Ken joining in! :)
  Mon. 10/14/19 6:57pm Sam:

Destroy all robots
Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 10/14/19 6:57pm Ken From Hyde Park:

Abandon Apple?
Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 10/14/19 6:57pm Michael 98145:

Ignore all alien orders
Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 10/14/19 6:58pm chresti:

Thanks Mark!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 10/14/19 6:58pm Bas NL:

This very page is monitored by Google Analytics according to my blocker.. :(
Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 10/14/19 6:58pm Mark Hurst:

Thanks, everyone, good conversation tonight!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 10/14/19 6:59pm Bas NL:

Thanks Mark!
  Mon. 10/14/19 7:00pm Sam:

Once the sea levels rise all these concerns will be moot.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 🎃 Mon. 10/14/19 7:02pm Webhamster Henry:

@Sam I've been trying to make this point for years (adding in droughts, collapse of the bottom of the food chain, changing wind and pressure patterns...)
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