Cyberspace Didnt Stay Free
Welcome to if then the showboat technology is changing our lives and our future, I'm April. And I'm Meredith Broussard. Hey, everyone. Welcome to if then we're coming from slate and future tents a partnership between slate Arizona State University and new America. We're recording us on the afternoon Tuesday may seven and first of all I'd like to once again, welcome. I co host for the second week in a row. Meredith rissole hard Meredith is a data journalism professor at New York University where she studies the many ways official intelligence is seeping into our world. Good and bad and how we can do a better job of explaining how AI works. She's the author of a book called urt official on intelligence how computers misunderstand the world Meredith. Thanks for co hosting again, if it is so great to be here. And we have such an exciting show lined up for today. Yes. So many stars on today's show, we'll talk the historian mar Hicks about the tech sectors longtime aversion to organize labor, and what it means for current worker disputes at places like Google and Uber, and then we'll talk about early imaginings of what the internet should be or could. Be the most successful which envisioned digital world that is free from government oversight and regulation. Alexis magical from the Atlantic will join our show in order to talk about why that vision is starting to fade and as always will end with don't close my tabs some of the best things we saw on the web this week. That's all coming up on if Dan. While the other guys have been doing what they can to cut costs. Samuel Adams has been brewing there Boston lager. Inefficiently for more than thirty years. The expensive imports industrial beers made as efficiently as possible many use cheap. Buttering hops, a few us faster, fermentation, whatever it takes to drive down costs. There have been plenty of opportunities to cut corners and costs. But Sam Adams is brewing process remains on changed. Sam Adams, brews was one hundred percent heirloom middle Fru, hops and loggers their beer for over a month, resulting in glorious inefficiency in every sip. The Boston beer company. Boston, Massachusetts savor. The flavor. Responsibly. Uber and lift drivers across the US are planning a strike on Wednesday ahead of Uber's upcoming IPO which is projected to land. The right hail giant evaluation that tops ninety billion dollars. That's just the latest chapter in a recent trend where people who work in the tech industry are starting to organize historically. The tech sector hasn't been very friendly to organize. Labor and here to talk about that is mar Hicks a historian of technology and gender. Mar also wrote a book called programmed in quality how Britain discarded women technologists and lost its edge and computing, mar thanks so much for joining us. Thanks for having me, so far your labor historian. So particularly interested in hearing from you about silicon valley's historical attitude toward organized labor because it's my understanding that all of these perks of Silicon Valley like the companies that do your laundry or unlimited fancy whole foods snacks. These are all perks that are designed to combat the rise of organized labor. And that the high salaries are a way of avoiding having to deal with unions. Yeah. I definitely think that's true to a certain extent in some ways. It's also just you know, the dictates of the labor market. So if a skill set. Is you know needed and there aren't many people with it? That's going to drive wages up. But historically, you're one hundred percent, right. Silicon Valley and tech basically in the US, and in the UK they've been very very antagonistic to any sort of labor organization and the people within these industries, although they've tried in the past to organize a lot of the people working in. These industries were also not so keen on labour organizing because they liked to see themselves as more lined with management. You know, they were professional white collar workers who saw themselves as more aligned with management than say working class workers and employers ranging from IBM to all of the other big companies that have been around for a long time. They they really played upon this idea of no you're really more aligned with. Management to to sort of tamp down on any efforts at unionization. But that seems to be a conflict with the case of Uber drivers because the Uber drivers are all constructed as independent contractors, not employees. And it seems like they're in a position that ordinarily, they would be employees, and they would be organizing in a labor union at this point. Yeah, exactly what we're seeing. Here with Uber is really interesting because these are workers who are essentially tech workers, they're creating all of this wealth and value for a tech company. And yet they don't actually get to participate in having the perquisites of working at a tech company because as you say, they're contractors they're seen as somehow not really part of the company, even though they're absolutely essential. And in fact, that devaluation of their labor is also. So essential and keeping that workforce atomised. So they can't unionize is also part of you know, it's necessary for Uber to be continually profitable and continually successful. So I think what the workers are doing in that case. And there have been some similar movements as well with people who do sort of digital piece work like on Amazon's mechanical Turk. I think it's really really important and you're one hundred percent right that if it weren't for sort of the technological barriers to organization that were sort of put in place by making these folks contractors, and sort of atomised them as a casualised labor force. They probably would have organized for better paying conditions much earlier. They would have been able to receiving worker organizing actually mounting gains from within Google's headquarters like the ending a four star patrician, for example, you know, in this comes from workers actually walking out from having concrete demand. Ends from actually tying their struggle in with contractors. But how do we know if labour organizing amongst workers who aren't considered employee's is working though? I mean, Google workers have our labor really has aligned themselves with contractors within the company, but I think it's going to be pretty hard with with Uber. At least to know if the driver organizing is actually affecting the company. Sure, we'll I guess one of the things you can look at as the stock price and see what happens to the valuation of the company given all of the ongoing probably labor problems. It's going to be having. I also think that you know, it's not like something gets done in one strike or in one go and when Uber and lift drivers have gotten together and had collective actions in the past. I mean, we have seen them accomplish things. We have seen them shift the conversation, and in certain cases, actually accomplish particular goal. Goals. I remember there was an incident when you know, the the Muslim ban was put into effect in recall correctly Uber and lift drivers were essentially they were asked to be put into the position of scabs because taxi drivers said they weren't going to go to the airports and collectively a lot of Uber. And lift drivers said, no, we're not either we're not going to do things that are going to hurt the protests that are going on at the airports. And so I thought that that you know, that instance, was a really good example of the fact that yes, people have impact it doesn't. You don't have to be as close to the halls of power, as you know, the white collar Google workers who were able to take down project may then and you know, had a lot of impact on project Dragonfly all of that is terrific. And they definitely have had a lot of press for that impact and deservedly so. But it doesn't mean that the workers who are less privileged are going to be any less effective. Because honestly, there's more of them one thing. That's really interesting here is that, you know, Uber's kind of post calendar era decline really began with the strike that you were talking about Hoover was perceived to have been breaking the taxi strike in early twenty seventeen and that led to delete Uber. And then, you know, so many more things that kind of took that house of cards down. But clearly this is another era of the company. That's that's also kind of book ending with another strike and a driver organizing. So clearly organized labor is not inconsequential for. Yeah. I think that's exactly right. And that's what history shows us as well. You know, when you look at computer worker strikes in the past in my book programmed in quality at talk about Britain in particular. And so I'll take an example from that relatively few numbers. Of workers than had to strike to basically, take down whole, computer installations, and what's really interesting about that history. Is that these workers were at that point predominantly women, and they were in jobs that were considered very low level. So in some cases, they were operators and programmers. But in other cases, they were data entry staff they wrote the punchers, and they raised hell, and they got an a lot of cases what they wanted to need it, which was better treatment and better pay because they acted as a block. And even though they were considered to be de skilled workers, they weren't and not anybody could do those jobs, and you know, the same is true of the folks who are driving for Uber, and lift these are not de skilled jobs, driving taxi is not a D skill jobs. So why would we think that driving another car under a different kind of economic model? Doing the same thing is a skill. Louis job. Well, mar this is a really good transition to the other thing that I wanted to talk with you about today, which is the idea of women demanding better treatment and better pay at tech companies because the Google walkout was very powerful recently at Google and last week we had a Google sedan which was a response to retaliation by Google against the organizers of the Google walkout. Yeah. And that's another sign that these folks were organizing or having an effect right because they are fly in Google's ointment Google is actually going as far as retaliating for allegedly retaliating against the folks who organized the walkout last year. And then commemorated it with another action the sit in this year, you know, added to the list of complaints that Google was actually retaliating against them. So. I think that what is going on that Google is very important because Google is sort of the three hundred pound gorilla in a lot of ways. And what happens with the movement? There is going to impact a lot of other thinking about what's possible in terms of getting these companies to be more responsible in terms of getting them to be more, you know, answer to the public more and also in terms of what can be done with anti-trust measures. So I do think that all of the issues that these largely women organizers, but there are folks of other genders folks were non binary, I believe there are also some men involved in the organizing team they're doing a really big thing by shining spotlight on what's going on Google with pay grievances harassment people working on projects that they're morally opposed to work on. And then the backlash that they're getting from. Their employer will mar Hicks. Thank you so much for joining us. I want to add that their book is called programmed in a quality how Britain discarded, women technologists and lost its edge in computing. It was so great to have you with us. Thank you so much for having me when we come back. We'll talk to Alexis Madrigal a staff writer at the Atlantic about his piece the end of cyberspace, it's all about how one prophetic vision of totally free and on regulated internet is starting to break down. That's coming up next. Every day. We talk about how innovative companies are reinventing the way business happens. But none of that is possible without the right people to enable it people who get packages to over one hundred and fifty million delivery points affordably on time with the latest technology and expertise. So who can help you deliver the future of commerce, the United States postal service? See why they deliver more ecommerce packages to homes than anyone in the country at USPS dot com slash future. Our guest today is Alexis Madrigal, a staff writer at the Atlantic and the author of powering the dream the history and promise of green technology. He wrote a piece in the Atlantic recently called the end of cyberspace Alexis. Thanks for joining us. So Alexis I was so excited to read this piece. I think it might be my very favorite, Alexis magical peace ever. So I was particularly excited to read it. Because as I was researching my book, the most fascinating untold history to me was about the way that hippies were on commune's. And then the communist failed and then exactly these same people transitioned into this uncharted world of cyberspace. So I love that you got into this history. But then you also went into a kind of radical thing I had never heard before. Which was the idea that this hippie ideology had failed that the idea of cyberspace was over can you tell us more about that? Yeah. Sure. You know, it came about because you know, so much of my work has ended up kind of weeding around the early threads of thinking around the internet here in the bay which run through hippies and Stewart brand and Haller catalog and particular strand of hippies to be clear and then in the last few months. I've been looking at the news I've seen that kind of like the original framing that a lot of these people had for how the internet worked and how people were going to be like online unlike air quoting here on podcast. But you know, what I'm saying online scare quotes. Basically, it was breaking down all over the place that this idea that had informed so much of the development of the internet. Just kind of has has outlived its usefulness, and you see it in the way that governments have taken control of networks like in the Chinese model. You also see it in the way that people have a new recognition that is a lot of musk says something on Twitter, it's the same as if he says it anywhere else. And so therefore he needs to sort of respect the rules of the securities markets like all of these things are recognitions. I realized that that concept which a lot of people have been critiquing for many years is actually breaking down like out in the world. Among the people who do the technology creation who do the regulation and among everyday people. Yeah, it's so wild to me that originally we had this idea that cyberspace was something like the North, Pole or Antarctica. Like, it was it was beyond. The reach of government. And for many years, though, we have actually had national territories on the internet. Like, you can't go to Europe from America and still stream that same TV shows, for example, on by people are still kind of holding on to this notion that cyberspace is a place apart. It's so fascinating to me. Well, don't you think that I mean part of it is at least it feels to me that there is this Colonel in there that something different is happening. And that while it is something that is occurring within national borders because there's a server somewhere, and there's a client somewhere and all those things are interacting with international border that the level of porosity is high enough and the levels of friction are low enough across borders that it is a different kind of interaction, which may be adjusted. It's some kind of different space, and that may also just be like a ninety internet kids. Nostalgia talking baby. It is. It's the same shit is like going to Safeway and going to a website are the same thing. You know? I I've not I've actually resolved on that question. Well, I do actually go to a website and go to Safeway for exactly the same kind of stuff. So I don't know. Maybe they are the same. Yeah. It's true, particularly as the internet apps had like extended, you know, their tentacles ever deeper into just daily life. It does kind of feel like these things have grown towards each other. And that part of it isn't just like the breakdown of cyberspace from the sort of regulatory side. But also like cyberspace came out of that wherever that is an into our lives. You know of and now lots of things work in the physical world the way they used to work in just only on the internet, push a button, something happens. You know, now push button in a car shows up at your house. You know, it's interesting. We're talking about the internet how it's kind of turned into a mall or different stores that you go to a website. It's like stores, but the idea that the internet should be separate from government is just so a historical because the internet, of course, was invented by the military, right or or was very much a product of government invention. And so one thing that I've always found so fascinating by the early and mid nineties fascination of this kind of digital frontiers. Mun is the kind of obsession with divorcing the the history of the internet from its actual beginnings, which which is a military invention and in doing so, of course, you know, argued so maybe that was one of the reasons why they argued so passionately for a on twisting any sort of government interaction with the internet from the internet. Because the government was so deeply intertwined with it from the beginning. And that really brings us to document you bring up. Yeah. The declaration of independence of cyberspace. Yeah. Which is a libertarian document by John Perry Barlow who are accused for kind of separating the internet from the government. I think it's the most important document that argues that what says, you know, you have no space here like argues from a position of authority over this new thing. And it really like so many other things kind of like really makes you ask. Like, what is like the eye of that statement, our like, what's the we of that? If it's not groups of citizens, you know, and and I think it was kind fun about that. Is it does sort of suggest that there are other configurations of social power outside of the nation state, which for those of us who were interested in at least the academic manifestations of anarchism and things like that are actually like really interesting. I think, you know, particularly in a world that I grew up in the nineties where people are trying to figure out why. Late in the globalised world corporations, hold all this power. And we also have these other levels of government will what about like other configurations of people that don't have a government affiliation. But nonetheless, can speak some position of authority around a community. And like when you put it in those terms, at least to me, I think all sorts of like good socks about that. When you put it in terms of like, it's essentially the market speaking, or it's like, you know, it's it's this purely kind of individualistic framework of people making rational market based decisions and that like that's who saying to the government. You're not welcome here than I have like a different set of feelings about it. And I actually think that both things that's what's so crazy about this history. Both of those ideas of like who may be speaking in that document, or what may be speaking doctor actually play. It's one of the things that I think has made it a document that strangers. Is with the texture of language that is sort of like Milton through like a cyber freaking filter. Still like has power. You know, like, you're still something you you read a new since like an interesting thing. You know? I think it's important to say that that's cyber freaking with a P H, right? Yes. That's right. Yes. So one of the things that's so interesting to me about this is that we have these outsider voices who are claiming authorities so people like John Perry Barlow are kind of co-opting the voice of the internet saying, we are the ones who are making the rules. And we are the ones who are making the code, and therefore we have all of this power, and it's very much associated with being an outsider and for many years. We've valorize d- that white male counter, cultural voice and said, oh, yes. This is the voice of the internet. I so in today's world were acknowledging that there are many other voices that should be heard, but the technical framework and the social framework of the internet is actually still built around this vision that started in the nineteen sixties, and it's very much entwined with these libertarian ideals. It's a really great point. You know, it's it there's no it is so individualistic. I think that's the thing that I have kept coming back to like the idea that you are in Atta mystic individual a mind, you know, floating around as opposed to groups who who can't escape the violence done to their bodies. You know? That that that would have to be a part of your group identity because of the way that our society is structured matches the US, but everywhere around gender lines around pigment, Crecy lines. And I think that it's kind of only, you know, very financially, comfortable white men who would have come up with this this particular version, and I want to add only speaking as like a kid who was growing up, you know, one Mexican family in rural Washington state. There was something incredibly empowering about kind of borrowing that megaphone in this body lists cyberspace, you don't have to reckon with all history. But then it turns out, of course, that that stuff comes rushing back in, and it all gets flooded out, and it becomes another way of like generating enormous wealth for, you know, ten people, you know, something to note about the kind of counterculture element of. Of Barlow's declaration is that it was penned in Davos, Switzerland. At the World Economic Forum. I was as as a as a very wealthy man as an investor. He wrote it in nineteen Ninety-six and something that you mentioned Alexis about kind of the liberty, Tori, resonance of the kind of thought that he brought up is that this was happening really at a moment when the anti-globalization movement was was mounting. And this was one people were realizing that I think in order to fight increasingly globalized capital right as corporations where we're expanding across borders with NAFTA, and the free trade agreement of the Americas that activist would have to become globalized and networked to. And I think that there was an excitement amongst activists communities or amongst people who kind of were were leftist. I'm thinking about like, how can we use the the borderless potential of the internet two network and to grow as well. And not everybody was necessarily thinking in these kinds of anti-government terms. But I think that the borderless nature was. Attractive to a lot of people who who felt oppressed by institutional tower. Yeah, I think the way that it seemed to offer an asymmetrical end run around entrenched media interest around entrench industrial interests, all of these things was so exciting seeming, and you know, this is a kind of odd connection, but it's one that I've been kind of developing in my book, which is that, you know, the Panthers are the other global movement that occurs around the same time as the hippies and the whole earth catalog like both these things are exploding in the bay at the same time human Newton as he's sort of just about as he's descending into kind of drug haze of time in seventy three kind of develops this theory that he calls revolutionary inter communalism, which is essentially exactly what you described April like that you needed to have non governmental forces that were. Smaller than a nation state that we're worrying about wasn't. It was explicitly not Marx's work taken over, you know, the country in the the production. It was community by community linking together to counter the corporate power of globalized in imperial, America. And that idea kind of prefigures a lot of the anti-globalization stuff by good margin. And I do think one major reason is that people in the bay had this kind of up front view of both the development of computation. And what that might mean. And the what they called the technology question at this called the technology question, and how that would play out for marginalized communities, and so one of the things that I've been thinking a ton about is, you know, Stewart brand who's kind of considered the central kind of twisty tie in a lot of this cyberspace and the counterculture stuff. You know, he kinda described one future for, you know, let's call it like the air stock rec-, you know, and then there's also this sort of ghetto. Future ism. You know, where they're like. No everybody is gonna fall into the category of the unemployable. The lumpen politician is the Panthers called it. And those folks kind of describe a lot of people we know as the precarious like labor force, but the full picture of the future like requires both of those characters and both of those ways and seeing the world because that is kind of what happened at like one set of people went one way and honest people went the other way. Which brings us back to what happened on the commune's. Right. Because the idea of the commune was that it was this physical space apart. But there were no people of color on the communists, and if you were a woman on the communists like you really ended up barefoot pregnant, and in the kitchen like there was nothing feminist or nothing empowered about it. And so I think that we need to I think we need to of learn from history as we think about the next stage of the internet. Oh, totally that commune experience. You know, sometimes I've tried to like because of course for me. I learning about communist, you know, they sounded so great, right? Oh, my God it sounded so fun. But then when you look into, you know, the experience there's like there's a few empowering stories like automate Gaskin, and the kind of rise of the nurse midwives. I mean, there are a couple of examples you can point to you said, I can't something good happen there. You know? But like by and large exactly what you're saying reproduced. Every racist patriarchal structure existed outside of the commune's on the commune's. And it's I think you're right that the idea that you can have a space apart from history government social change. And as importantly, the rest of everybody else who wasn't able to like escape from their circumstance or didn't have a computer and internet connection in nineteen ninety-five, which almost everybody that you you can't live apart, you know, and it's funny because just to weave the one last social movement from that time into this discussion, you know, the environmental movement at that time magazine lodge called a man, not a part, and the idea was just like the environment such as it was included people. You know what I mean? And I think that the same thing is kind of true as we are coming to terms with all of the technology that has become so a crucial part of every the way we do everything that, you know, the people are like all people are fundamentally part of this system. And so what can be developed what how technology work? So that all of those people can be included in that space. So I want to to move forward a little bit because you know, Barlow's focus was incredibly influential, and inspirational I mean, partly went on to found the eletronic frontier foundation work where I used to work, you know, pioneers of the internet kind of let people who started apple and and people who went to work at Google Schmidt sites. The declaration of independence of cyberspace. Mitch Kapor was one of the founders of EFF, right? Like, this was an incredibly influential strain of thinking, but it really focused on the harms that the government would pose to the openness the internet. Not the harms that corporations would pose free from government regulation, and we now have just an incredibly corporatized on regulated internet because those who went on to define what a healthy internet is or those who have held that definition, and then took the mantle of advocacy for that were coming off this kind of anti government regulation kind of treaty. And so, you know, this is what's come to define a healthy internet. It's clearly not working and one thing that or we I can say it looks like it's not working because we say clearly it's just been a as I would say it's just been a real like caravan of you know, horrors over the past few years. And so you wrote in your piece that there seems to be a shift in thinking happening now that maybe this didn't work and you're seeing we're seeing this manifest in a lot of different policy proposals and conversations. Yeah. And I think you can trace back to people who were mostly doing kind of. Like, the torching of the effigy kind of time you go back to like Guinea more as off he writes, this thing called the net delusion. There's been a lot of people, you know, the people who argued against what they call digital dulas them. You know that basically saying there's no such thing as an online and offline south that we want to thank this look kind of just part of experienced. And you know, there's a whole a million other people who've also made smart and good critiques of the topic. I think the question is is there a paradigm that will be as deductive? And as as adopted. I mean, the there was a lot of the things that a lot of the work. We've been doing has been to kind of tear down a lot of the idea a lot of the things that weren't true anymore or maybe never worked you about how cyberspace work. But like, what is it that, you know, so much of the work at it feels a little bit like where psychology is right now. You know, they had all of these kind of theories than they get behavioral psychology. Then that whole thing collapses under the weight. A lot of bad research. And so now everyone's kind of like, oh, yeah. What is psychology? How does this work? You know, which is even though it's a Ben like a dominant way of thinking about everything for, you know, more than one hundred years people are still kind of like what is this field? And I kind of I feel kind of similarly right now about the internet like we I just waiting to get some theories -ation of this thing that I work on every day and have been on for twenty five years. How do you regulate platforms and ways that generate you know, good and fair outcomes? You know, I mean, just like all these things I breaking up these things I feel like it's we revisit states. It's like literally like no assist break them up, which is fine. You know? But like there's no positive vision of that really aside from oh now, we'll just do better market competition this time 'cause that was the problem. You know, what I mean like, it's really not that. It's a terrible idea to do that. But I'm just saying it's so like that's it feels like a little bit like we're don't have the next paradigm in place yet. I think what we need to do is we need to enter it. We came up with this with this idea in the nineteen seventy is of what we thought the internet was going to be what we thought cyber cyberspace was going to be and it has proven to be problematic. So, you know, maybe we need to enter it. And and revisit our thinking on it. Alexis. I wanna thank you so much for joining us today. This is a great conversation often. Thanks guys, one final quick break. And then don't close my tabs some of the best things we've seen on the web this week. It's always good to be in the know. But it's especially important when it comes to your personal information like your social security number. That's why discover card is here to help. They sent an alert if they find your social security number on any one of thousands of risky websites and best of all the services free for card members. All you have to do sign up online. It's just one more way. Discover looks out for you not just your account. Learn more at discover dot com slash free alerts. Limitations apply. Okay. It's time for don't close my tabs Meredith. What story would you like to share with us this week? I would like everybody to check out the raisin situation by Jona angle. Bromwich in the New York Times, it is this fantastic story that shows us really what business journalism can be. It's about the crisis in the raisin industry. Now. I haven't eaten a little box of sun main reasons in years, and I discovered that I'm not alone in that. And in fact, there's all kinds of fascinating drama happening behind the scenes in the reason industry, including death threats and possible collusion and all kinds of things that I never associate it with little dried, grapes. Yeah. One thing. I really liked about this story is that it got into the kind of advertising behind the curtain. It really brought up the iconic California Manson grease in how effective that campaign was. And it was just a whole story right of the snack food that is been such a central part of our lunch boxes for decades yet, and those California reasons they are so conic my favorite line in the story is when the author writes about how Paul McCartney's Representative called up to try and get videotape of the California raisins. So Paul McCartney could watch it on repeat. I mean, this is a fact of advertising, right? And and I even forget that the California raisins were to advertise raisins, so, but but the the story is just full of intrigue and deception and cunning, and and then you just keep remembering oh my gosh. We're talking about raising and also like really, you know, agriculture in the central valley of California, which is controlled by just a few families that have a stranglehold on water. And so. So I really recommend people. Check it out to one of my favorite things that I've read a while. So great tab Meredith the raisin situation major snack food drama. So might have this week is another podcast. It's a two episodes that aired from the New York Times this show, the daily just a two part series entitled the Chinese surveillance state, and it is kind of featuring the tastic journalism from palm Ozora technology reporter for the New York Times is based in Shanghai and episode one goes into how China is really at the forefront of a new form of government by surveillance or governance. That's kind of dictated by surveillance, that's primarily focused on how the Chinese government has been expanding things like facial recognition to control minority populations in parts of the large country. And how China surveillance system is is actually now being used as a model that other. Countries are adopting really chilling stuff on how knowing everything about people where they move who. They're talking to when they leave their house who they're with can function to control art lives. Right. And you know, this is we're talking about a government doing it. But all of his information that the Chinese government is is using to do this. It's the type of data that we all kind of accidentally producer produce on wittingly by having these devices on us, and it's just incredibly well-done, very chilling part. Two is a kind of more first person story of an American citizen whose family members were detained in China's reeducation camps, and it just really again kind of gets into how the Chinese government is using servants. And absolutely terrifying ways. And I think that we should all be listening to this. And following this reporting that's coming out from the New York Times on this topic because it's. A very hard reporting to do in China. It really is. It's just very well done as well. In terms of putting in context in a way that we can understand being so far away. You know, I'm reminded of what we were talking about earlier with our early concepts of what the internet would be. And I think very few people imagined that this level of surveillance would be possible or that this level of surveillance that we're seeing in China nowadays would even be desirable. So like people weren't thinking of the data trail that would would be left when we were completely saturated by kind of networked world yet because we didn't have that model anywhere in history. So it's just I think to a certain extent, it didn't occur to people that this could or would happen. Yeah. I, you know, wasn't around when people were thinking about what could happen with internet. I really grew up with the internet, but I certainly growing up with. Didn't think about my dad of? And I didn't think about how it could be used against me. And really the awakening to that happened. At least in the United States was snowed in and I just am really trying to wrap my head around what's happening in China. The the human rights abuses, and I'm trying to follow it very very closely. Because it's actually it's not an imagination of how bad it could be. It's something that's happening now so really recommend this might have this week for folks. And that does it for our show sorry to end on such a bleak note. But important journalism is important. So we'll always continue to prop that up. You can Email us at if then at slate dot com sinister questions showing guess suggestions. Or just say Hello. You can follow me and Meredith on Twitter as well at April as her and Meredith is at mayor Broussard, thanks again to our guests, mar Hicks, and Alexis magical, you can follow mar on Twitter at history tech, and you can follow Alexa, sunshine. Twitter at Alexis magical, and thanks to everyone who has left us a comment or review on apple podcasts, or whatever platform you used to listen, we really appreciate your time. If then is a production of slate end future partnership between sleep Arizona State University end new America, if you want more of slates coverage sign up for the future tense newsletter every week, you'll get news and commentary on how tech advances are winning the world in ways large and small sign up at slate dot com slash feature news, our producers Cameron Druze. Thanks also to Gandhi, Joe Johnson who engineered for us today. Why are media in Oakland? And that does it for the show will see all next week. And thanks Meredith. It's your last show with us. But it was so much fun. It was a lot of funny Bill, thanks listeners. But by. It's always good to be in the know. But it's especially important when it comes to your personal information like your social security number. 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