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Debate: The internet is a failed utopia

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Published on Jul 7, 2015

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Filmed at The Intelligence Squared and Vanity Fair Digital Summit at Shoreditch Town Hall on 11th June 2015.

Featuring: Andrew Keen and Frank Pasquale vs Beth Simone Noveck and Peter Barron. Chaired by Jeremy Paxman.

Picking up where we left off in the first session, we move from the early vision to the reality of the internet today. To many, their hopes have been smashed by the revelations of government surveillance of our personal data - with the co-operation of the tech giants who know and record our every move online. Add to that the negative impact the internet has had on jobs and inequality, the problems of addiction and information overload, the balkanisation of interest groups, and the trend towards confirmation bias - and the dream has turned very sour indeed.

That’s the view of the internet pessimists. But to others the last 20 years have opened up an unprecedented world of abundance. It’s not just as consumers of physical goods that we have benefited, but as users of information from books, websites and communication with people on the other side of the world. We can freely access expertise and entertainmen, while the boom in the sharing economy, crowd funding, and open-source innovation suggest we are moving towards a world where collaboration and co-operation are the new paradigm.

Is the dream a failed one, or still to come?

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