The Hidden Power Podcast Ep 4: Governance and Cyberspace

Ed Straw
Philip Tottenham
John Naughton
31 October 2020

John Naughton, tech columnist at The Observer Newspaper, talks about that great Wild West of our time – Cyberspace. From its roots in “permissionless innovation” to the staggering dominance of a very small number of companies over most aspects of our lives, he surveys the absence of governance, and how two effective sovereigns – Apple and Google – have appropriated powers normally associated with sovereign powers of territorial control.

In our discussion Ed and I pick up on the de-globalisation of the internet, the digital divide and on surveillance capitalism – and while it turns out these problems are not new, the perennial importance of Truth to our Age of Enlightenment once again comes to the fore.

Talking points:
Weaknesses in our systems of governing are at the root of the souring of social media.
Constitutions can and must have provisions to ensure governments, politicians and citizens deal in reality.
The basics would be – independent feedback, deliberative democracy and measures to minimise the culture of lies and inflamation.
Most of our main challenges are bewilderingly complex, and they will never be solved through adversarial two-line posts. But they might well be mitigated by inclusive, deliberative conversations.