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Algorithms & Anachronisms: How New Tech & Old Politics are Holding Us Back

Open Primaries

In May, social psychologist and author Jonathan Haidt wrote a devastating critique of social media practices and how they’re undermining and sabotaging American democracy.

Although Haidt concedes that political polarization long predates the rise of social media platforms, he believes that the tools of virality—Facebook’s Like and Share buttons, Twitter’s Retweet function etc.—have algorithmically and irrevocably corroded public life and systematically fragmented Americans into smaller and smaller hostile bubbles. His warning is dire: “If we do not make major changes soon, then our institutions, our political system, and our society may collapse.” 

On August 10, Former Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes and Open Primaries President John Opdycke interviewed Jonathan and then opened up the conversation for questions.  They discussed how weaponized social media and outdated political practices/institutions are creating a situation where the American people are no longer in the driver’s seat and have little to no autonomy in making meaningful political change.

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