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What is the best way to destroy the internet before it destroys us? Cory Doctorow and Alan Brough

Listen to What is the best way to destroy the internet before it destroys us? Cory Doctorow and Alan Brough

It has to be said: the cat pictures might not be enough. The internet definitively sucks sometimes. It’s a willing and fertile host to our most objectionable prejudice, anger and desire; an open marketplace for exploitation, child porn and illicit drugs and weapons. It provides a container for our greed, impatience and emotional evasiveness, and its liberating potential often feels like a false promise buried in a much larger mountain of disconnection, voyeurism and social media-fuelled narcissism.

Even the feelgood and useful bits are compromised – our tracked behaviour is sold to advertisers, while security agencies like the NSA have been found to spy extensively on … well, almost everybody.

Cory Doctorow (photo by Connor Tomas O'Brien)

Cory Doctorow

In that light, is it blind and foolish to defend the internet – or does idealism provide a corrective vision? What gives this incredible technological structure its potency? What does the internet offer in terms of political freedom and social mobility, privacy and big data, and broadcasting and publishing and political change – and what does it cost us?

Blogger, science fiction author, Electronic Frontier Foundation special advisor and Boing Boing co-editor Cory Doctorow speaks with multitalented and beloved broadcaster, writer and director Alan Brough about whether we should really destroy the internet – or whether it instead needs our protection.

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The Interrobang

Catch up with the best discussions and reflections from The Interrobang: a new festival driven entirely by your questions, from the Wheeler Centre.