CYA Virtual Lecture Series: The Intersection of Technology and Politics in Today’s Reality

On Wednesday, June 24th, 2020, CYA continued its effort to engage with its community through virtual events with its second live lecture. The discussion, titled The Intersection of Technology and Politics: 2020 Edition, was given by CYA Trustee Michail Bletsas, Research Scientist & Director of Computing at MIT’s Media Lab and moderated by Elias Papaioannou, Professor of Economics at the London Business School and Visiting Professor at MIT.

The flyer for the virtual event

Bletsas offered a riveting speech about the intersection between big tech and politics, noting the impact of data on our daily lives and society. He offered the increasingly common proliferation of fake news and misinformation on social media as an example of technology’s tremendous effect on current issues. Bletsas mentioned the recent conspiracy theories attributing the novel coronavirus to “5G infected bats,” noting that because social media platforms serve as a breeding ground for such misinformation, they are responsible for establishing policies to help curb the spread of false information. In his lecture, Bletsas offered wise advice: “trust the established sources. If something looks extreme, don’t follow it.”

In the face of COVID-19, we have begun to incorporate technology more and more into our daily lives. Work, education, and even social gatherings are now taking place virtually, forcing us to examine the role of technology in our lives, and how our data is being used. When asked about breaking up big tech, Bletsas gave a “conditional yes,” adding, “nothing good has ever come from great concentrations of power.”

 

Thank you to all who joined us, and we look forward to the next virtual lecture, which will take place on July 8th, 2020!

Written by Anna Wichmann