Skip to main content

tv   Media Technology 20th Century Politics  CSPAN  August 3, 2019 12:54pm-2:29pm EDT

12:54 pm
we have some documents here the talk about women's imprisonment for peacefully protesting their rights. although the silent sentinels were not necessarily popular with mainstream suffragists or many members of the american public, they were nevertheless appalled that these men were -- ben and women were imprisoned for peacefully demonstrating their rights. >> take the entire exhibit tour sunday at 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. eastern. are watching american history tv.
12:55 pm
tv,ext on american history historians discuss the effect of media and technology on 20th-century politics. government'se the impact on silicon valley, artificial intelligence and cable television. this was part of a two day university conference call remaking political history. >> welcome to the media technology and the state panel. larger two day a session call remaking american political history, where we are talking about history and how it's going to be taught and talked about over the years. this conference is sponsored by the department of history at purdue university. we are thankful to all of them
12:56 pm
to discuss this whole issue of how history is going to be taught in the future. i am managing director for the center for c-span scholarship and engagement. our goal is to help professors from across the country use the c-span archives, which is over 250,000 hours of american political history in classrooms and research. that's what we are concentrating on. we would be interested in tolowing you as we reach out history professors across the country, who are interested in using the c-span archives in their classroom and research. we have three excellent panelists who have different
12:57 pm
areas of interest. five to going to speak seven minutes and then we are up and take qit up and and a. i hate to read introductions, so there is her introduction. i need to do what i was trained to -- i was trained to do, ask you the questions that aren't on there. did you grow up? >> i grew up in little rock arkansas. >> how did you make the move? where did you go to school? >> northwestern. i wanted to go to a big city. and i got in. one of the reasons i chose history is my high school is little rock central high school.
12:58 pm
year was the 30th anniversary of the crisis at central high. the time i was in high school madehe time we were being aware of that history, that at least certainly in the rules of that high school we are reckoning with that history. it may become a majority, minority diverse high school. understanding my own personal connection to someplace that played a significant role in the american civil rights story is one of the reasons i did this. >> what professor or what teacher, no matter it was great school, high school or university level, made the most difference in your career path?
12:59 pm
>> my graduate advisor. >> because we are the c-span archives all three of our panelists have appeared on c-span. about thes talking vietnam war and the protests. this is part of a program that c-span does called lectures in history. a professors teaching certain historical issues in the classrooms. is a time when the liberal left comes together, and you have strong leftist , a push towards more leftist solutions.
1:00 pm
there are young people in very about what who have america is and what it should be. book called "the code, silicon valley and the remaking of america. " >> thank you for organizing this. it is great to be on this panel with all of you and to be speaking to the pico -- the people in the room and those who will watch it on c-span. my most recent book and started five years ago. thinking about it as a political history of silicon valley. it morphed into something more broad. the political spine is still there. in the course of writing about
1:01 pm
the evolution of the high technology, computer and companiesnd software from the 1940's to the present, when you get to the last 25 years, it becomes a story about media. inm intensely interested scholars say putting the state back into the story of silicon valley, which has for quite a while or trade it self techno-libertarian paradise in politics should be avoided and went -- when government got parties were both held up as free prize entrepreneurialism. there is a very critical governmental and political story that runs throughout. orre is a media story
1:02 pm
information dissemination a story. we seeo something that manifesting right now is you have very large technology companies like alphabet/google and facebook that are the media disseminators and media platforms where information flows and yet they are companies that do not think of themselves as media companies. this a they are not in the is this of media as if they were newspapers. their whole self conception being againstf traditional media and being something that media is like government, an old-style institution. when we look at this historically, we not only see how the culture of silicon valley in particular that was based on growing fast at all
1:03 pm
cost, elbowing competitors out of the way and bringing products to market quickly. of silicon valley is something that is animating how these very large companies are -- why today and why is it is about changing and creating algorithms to scrape information. a community that i refer to in my book as a galapagos, a distinctive ecosystem that grew 19 60's, 1950's, 1970's, and 1980's and centers on the government and the east coast. money through the military complex is why silicon valley came to be. it was isolated enough geographically and in terms of people paying attention. if you read a story in the washington post new york times that referred to silicon valley
1:04 pm
before 1980, first of the term comes up rarely and when it does it is in silicon valley. and even when you did have national news coverage, there were profiling entrepreneurs in silicon valley. it was like it was a strange species of a different type. if we look back to the way in which entrepreneurs like steve jobs and bill gates were world,ed to the [no audio]
1:05 pm
yet it is deeply connected to old economy institutions, whether they be the national government or state government or local government, old money. where did the money for the technology revolution come from? where were the funds that flowed into the initial venture funds that started these iconic entrepreneurial companies and semiconductors and personal computing and on and on? it was the rockefellers, the whitney's. that was where the money was. it was wall street banks. companies, like apple, d as apresente countercultural dream of a company that thinks different was that why did apple break apart from the pack of other personal computer makers in the
1:06 pm
late 1970's? and had a beautiful product they also had a singular, the two steve's, one who designed the powerful, elegant motherboard inside the computer and then steve jobs who could tell a good story and understood how to present this device to the world. they also had management expertise coming from other companies that were much more traditional and well-established who took these two guys into a garage entered into a corporation. we see it again and again. so recognizing that this whole ecosystem has a history that is both singular and distinctive but it is a product of the last 75 years of american political history and american social history. it is critical to understanding and grappling with the immensity and influence of these companies
1:07 pm
today. i will leave it at that. >> thank you very much. our next she is from new york university and she has about called artificial on intelligence, how computers misunderstand the world. i am going to put up your biography but ask you some questions. where did you go out? meredith: i go outside of philadelphia. >> how did you make it to nyu? nn before i was at pe that. before nyu, i was a professor at temple and the university of pennsylvania. i study data journalism and practice data journalism. it is a practice of using numbers to tell stories.
1:08 pm
of york was the epicenter people who are working on data journalism and also people working on major issues around , especiallychnology ethics in artificial intelligence, which is my other specialty. >> so what teacher moved your life? meredith: one of the stories i tell in the book is about when i was in high school. a program for >> we need to start over? >> absolutely not. i will ask you the question again -- what teacher change your life? of the important educational experiences i had in learning to use technology was
1:09 pm
in an engineering program in high school for kids. we would get taken once a month to the rca plant in the small town where i grew up. it was rumored that they were building nuclear weapons there. bus to ana engineering program and they gave a spare computer parts and said, here, build a computer. i actually built my own first computer and it was great. i learned from that. powerned that i had the to create technology and also there were also spare parts around at tech companies which seemed like useful information. i learned about power and i had the power to build things. as margaret said, there is a lot
1:10 pm
of economic power he hind building technology. that was really important knowledge that it got me into becoming a data journalist. >> so looking at you in the you inarchives, i found the headquarters. here you are. is noth: technology going to save us from every problem. fix for homelessness is not making an apt to connect people app to connect people, it is about giving them a home. if you have the right tool for the task, sometimes a computer is it sometimes it is not. about to talk today
1:11 pm
understanding artificial intelligence. the book artificial on intelligence is about the innerworkings and outer limits of technology. i started writing it because i was having a really hard time with people understanding what i was doing in my work. intelligenceicial systems for investigative reporting. i would say this and people would say, you mean it is like a robot reporter? and i would say no. they would say, it's like a ideas? out story realizeday no and i that if i wanted anyone to understand what i was talking about and working on, there needed to be more basic understanding of artificial intelligence in the world. book.ted researching the
1:12 pm
i realize that we don't often get good definitions for ai. we talk about ai ella but there is this thought that descends when we try to talk more precisely about it and there is confusing. -- confusion. often when you talk to to people about ai, one is talking about the hollywood stuff with killer , and the other is talking about competition of statistics. al statistics. it is important that we are all talking about exactly the same thing. do is ahe things that i very concise definition of artificial intelligence and i show readers exactly what it looks like.
1:13 pm
when summit he does ai. specifically, i look at machine learning which is a form of artificial intelligence. artificial intelligence is a subdiscipline of computer science, the same way that algebra is a subdiscipline of mathematics. inside the field of artificial intelligence, there are other subfields, machine learnings, systems, natural language processing and generation. an interesting thing happened where machine learning has become the most popular subfield of artificial intelligence. this english sticks slippage has happened and people say i am using ai for business. what they mean is i am using machine learning for business but the two terms have become conflated. it is important to keep this distinction in mind. another point of confusing is that-- confusion is machine learning like artificial intelligence sounds like there
1:14 pm
is a little brain inside the computer. i was once at a science fair for grown-ups doing a demo of this ai system i had built. this undergraduate came over and said, you built and i i system and i said yes. he said is it real? i said yes. then he starts looking under the table like there is something hiding under the computer, as if there is a little brain in there. i realized this linguistic confusion is profound and we need to talk about that real artificial intelligence, real machine at learning is not actually about -- in the computer. it is a bad term. what machine learning is al learning.
1:15 pm
it is essentially making statistical predictions. that we can use math to figure things out about the universe. math cannot tell us everything. prediction can tell us likelihood but cannot tell us truth. we need to keep these ideas in mind and think about hollywood. hollywood ideas about artificial .ntelligence color our beliefs every student who comes into your classroom and start learning and starts thinking and history isy also simultaneously thinking about hollywood and thinking about hollywood images of artificial intelligence. that distinction and make the point that hollywood imagery of ai is totally imaginary.
1:16 pm
researchers call it general artificial intelligence. that is the singularity that machines that think that robots are going to take over the world and it is totally imaginary. real artificial intelligence that we have is called narrow ai. machine learning, even though it sounds magical is a kind of narrow ai and it is just math. realized when i was doing the research for the the confusion over artificial intelligence is almost deliberate. confusione been using about technology as a gatekeeping method to a grand grandize, make money,
1:17 pm
of thekeep people out field. a lot of people come from a small, homogeneous group of people. they are mostly ivy league educated white male mathematicians. there is nothing wrong with being a white male ivy league mathematician. putproblem is that people their own biases in technology. that weook at the way don't have women and people of color represented at the upper echelons in silicon valley, that is -- we can draw a direct connection to the fact that women and people of color are not represented in the upper echelons of mathematics. at the harvard math department, arguably one of the best math department in the world, there
1:18 pm
are two senior professors who are women in 2019. was 2018.started there are structural forces at technology fields .hat are extremely important people in mathematics and physics don't actually think the social structural forces are important. they think that what matters is just math. think that solving mathematical problems and solving technological problems is so superior to the pesca little social -- pesky little social problems. this is the root of an idea that i call techno chauvinism which we saw in the earlier clip. techno chauvinism is the idea
1:19 pm
that technical solutions and problems are superior to other kinds. that using a computer is a superior technology. which is about saying that math is superior. it is really about a kind of bias. is let'suld argue think about using the right tool for the task. the times the right tool is a computer. other times it is something simple like a book in the hands of a child sitting on a parent's lap. one is not better than the other. it simply what is appropriate. we can also think about the environmental cost of our rush to use ai to replace existing systems. we can say, what is behind the rush to use ai? chauvinism, a
1:20 pm
desire to make vast amount of money? is that actually giving us the role that we want? we can also look at the way ai systems function, which is they replicate the world as it is. the way you built in ai system is you take a bunch of data and build a machine learning model that is a mathematical model of what is happening inside the toa and to use that model predict values and make decisions about your data. has noblem is this model select replicates what already -- no soul and it replicates what is already happening. if you think it is great you will want to replicate it exactly. i would argue that the world racism, sexism,
1:21 pm
generations of biased decisions about who gets a mortgage. the world includes in the u.s. a vast amount of residential segregation. if we are using ai system to decide a mortgage to buy a house, we are just replicating generations of inequality. we need to think about these ai system as replicating the world as scrim and aiding by default and we need to question whether we are actually building a computational system to get the world as it should be. >> thank you very much. now we go to katie burnell. is republic of entertainment the title? >> it is the tie-dye came up for a grant application period do not like it. a it is what i came up for
1:22 pm
grant application. i don't like it. >> where are you from? katie: i went to the university of michigan and did graduate work at boston. >> how old were you when you you wanted to study history? year: it was my freshman at the university of michigan. i took a history class with matt lassiter and the first day of that class completely opened my eyes to how amazing history was. i decided i wanted to learn more about history and i wanted to become a historian. >> so your first book was "showbiz politics." what was that about? katie: it was about american politics leading up to ronald aagan and how making
1:23 pm
celebrity and how showbiz politics was the way they gained power and credibility. >> this clip was from an interview that c-span did with you at the organization of american historians. is the art right? katie: sounds right. [video clip] nixon said reagan appeals to the heart and to the mind. are we missing something? team ofthered this media advisors and advertising execs and television producers, roger ailes, notably, and they all agreed that what went wrong media0 is he didn't use effectively and turn himself into a celebrity the way kennedy had. he revamped his media strategy and made television central and followed what kennedy did and what reagan did. significantly
1:24 pm
because at the end of the day, he believed and the people he surrounded himself believe that the difference between nixon the loser and nixon the winner was the embrace of the showbiz politics style. >> so take all that into your next project on the cable television industry. katie: thank you. i'm honored to be on this panel by two people's work i admire so much, especially because they have completed their work and i'm drawing on it for my own work. mine is still very much a work in progress. i am trying to put together all of the pieces and think about the larger narrative which looks at the political history of cable television. it really builds off of my first book because it starts with president who firmly believed that communications mattered and communication
1:25 pm
policy mattered as well. question is -- what is the relationship between media, technology, and the state? that is something i'm thinking about and looking at the way television dramatically changed over the past half-century. politicsable industry, were deeply intertwined with all aspects of its business. political battles, whether they played out at the local or state level with national elected officials or sec regulators are really at the core -- fcc regulators are really at the core of the history. these political debates propelled transformations and the idea of what cable television was and how it could actually function. for the first two decades that cable television existed, it emerged with the advent of broadcast television. it was simply a way to extend
1:26 pm
the reach of broadcast television originally. there was trouble with terrain, cable could amplify the reach of broadcast. and 1970's,960's cable became seen as a new be anlogy that could alternative form of how tv could function in society. that could have very specialized that would empower viewers to have more control over what they were watching and to "vote with the route control." -- the remote control." they realize their business was tied to political debates about what cable television meant. this is especially important because they were not part of those decisions that were being esde about how their business
1:27 pm
were to function. they were cable operators and outside of the political media establishment during the 1950's and 1960's. broadcastersat the who are part of the political establishment had these relationships with regulators and congressmen. they limited what was possible for cable to function as a business. there is a very powerful clip of a cable pioneer that is available through the cable center's oral history. it is done in 1990. expanded during the 1980's and he lists all of the opposition that once faced in the 1950's and 1960's. e "listles off th of enemies unquote that we had.
1:28 pm
he lists cnn, local producers, state council power committees, lawyers, lobbyists. he added to the particular challenge came from congressional representatives who "didn't like us because their broadcast buddies at home and who were depended to get elected didn't like us." environment ofhe cable television in the 1950's and 1960's because it really did suffer at the hands of the regulatory regime that gave tremendous social, economic, and cultural power to the broadcasting industry. there was a close collaboration between broadcasters and congressional leaders and presidential administrations and the fcc that created a very favorable regulatory framework that benefited congressmen and presidents who were very eager to be in the eye of their constituents on local or national news and so they
1:29 pm
benefited from this. the broadcasting industry also benefited from this arrangement because they experienced very little competition in exchange for these official voices from government. there were certain values that underpinned this arrangement that allowed for the corporate monopoly of the three networks to dominate for about two decades. even a little longer, but politically what is central is that politicians believed they needed broadcasters to get elected. nixon is key here. there 1950's and 1960's are a moment where politicians are grappling with the age of television and hiring consultants who are telling them you need to go on tv and have advertisements and be part of the news. they believe that broadcasters have a lot of political power and they have to have favorable
1:30 pm
relationships with them. culturally, this regulatory model also depended on the idea of objectivity and trust that the public had in big institutions. atwork news was primarily collective source of information that gave out the official line re-think of walter cronkite and that is the weight it is, overwhelmingly -- that is the way it is, overwhelm and link to shape their presentation of the news. intellectually, broadcasters shaped the research about how television function. all of the studies that supported the broadcasting model with the three corporate network that this was in the best interest of the country were actually done by the research departments of the networks. they were able to shape the intellectual framework as well. time, the 1950's and
1:31 pm
1960's, the fcc and congress created strict regulations that ensured that cable could not compete in the top 100 markets. it limited the type of programming cable could use an offer its subscribers. it basically made it so that the only way cable could function was if it extended the signals of the broadcasting industry but it couldn't necessarily offer a competing service. formrvice or alternative of television. that starts to change over the next two decades. political changes, the white house, state and local governments combined with the operators, thele formation of an effective lobbying organization and consumers to transform at just the regulatory structure, the very ways that television function in american politics. this is the story that my book will hopefully continue to
1:32 pm
outline. started in the presidential administration of richard nixon. it is not an accident that richard nixon, who so firmly leaved in the power of media to shape his political success, something i charted in my first book, becomes a president who is very passionate about telecommunications policy. he takes it seriously. he firmly believed there is an idea of liberal bias in network television. he wanted to do something to challenge these institutional structures that gave network television so much power. he ultimately empowered many white house staffers who work for him to pursue a very revolutionary approach to television that would allow cable television to emerge as a competitor to broadcasting. he created the opposite
1:33 pm
telecommunications policy and it existed for eight years. this was an incredibly influential office because it started to pierce holes and some of the reigning assumptions about television. notably, it capitalized on the growing critique of objectivity that was manifesting both on the left and the right in the early 1970's. it encouraged new research about the economics of television and whether it can floor shed as a new type of business. they ultimately dismantled the economic justifications of the broadcast monopoly. in the aftermath of nixon's presidency, congress continued to debate and take seriously some of these policies that originated in the nixon white house. the newly elected post-watergate away the emphasis
1:34 pm
and waging war against broadcasters that nixon had used but took seriously the ideas that his office of telecommunications put forward about the need for more diversity and a more comprehensive television programming that could benefit all aspects of civic engagement and government. the televised watergate hearings i see is an important moment because it elevated the prestige of the legislative branch and and told congress if they were the stars of the show they could gain the power and shift some of the power back to the legislative blanch -- branch congress debated how they can integrate television coverage as a way to restore more power to what they were doing and more visibility and faith in what they were doing. they were looking for
1:35 pm
television. attentionhave more and cameras focused on what we are doing. the problem is, network news had only a half an hour or an hour that they wanted to dedicate to public affairs. you needed a different type of television in order for this to work. the cable industry was taking advantage of some of these political shifts and new ideas and proposed a solution, one that would benefit them and benefit congress. c-span something that founder brian lamb argued in oral history when he is recounting how he sold the idea of c-span to cover what congress was doing to "turn the lights" onto congress. he told people in the cable industry that only i becoming a player in the news could c-span challenge the authority and power that abc, cbs, and nbc
1:36 pm
ultimately had. he was right. c-span launched in 1979 and over the next day, politicians debated how cable should be used not if it should be used. onceoliticians that dismissed the industry because there broadcasting buddies didn't like us eventually saw cable television as a tool for political advancement and they forged relationships with the industry that were at times collaborative and at times very contentious, but they were always confidential. in the process as political leaders are becoming eager to , the stylethe style of government and how they were communicating and engaging with constituents became transformed by the core ideas of market populism, niche marketing and entertainment that made cable so
1:37 pm
powerful and popular. since the 1960's, the financial success of the cable industry depended on the industry's ability to defend, define, and distinguish cable television as a new technology and inform of television. it really reshaped the way people thought about media and the way media functioned in american political life. by the 1990's, that conquered list of enemies that bill daniels outlined -- by conquering those enemies enforcing relationships and becoming a power player itself, american society and the media structures on which it depended were fundamentally transformed. and thisin had shifted is one of the key arguments that
1:38 pm
i want to bring out in the book that in the process of shifting that terrain, it is not just that politicians came to rely on cable television more or consumers came to rely on television more to interact with politicians, but through that process, politics began to look more like the programs that were actually on the dial. thank you. >> thank you very much. [applause] we are going to open up -- i was getting ready to say the phone lines. q&are going to open up for and just a minute or two and if you would just let them know and they will get a microphone to your questions. since this is a panel about media technology and "state, tell me in each of your areas
1:39 pm
where you think the state let people down. where in that history did the state let the american people down in silicon valley and that history. i think there was a critical moment in the early 1990's where the internet, which had been around since 1969 as a product of the defense department used by employees and researchers until the early 1990's is becoming commercialized. thecommercialization of internet requires regulatory decisions. it is the moment when silicon valley or at least the generation of silicon valley entrepreneurs turned -- /millionaires turned political
1:40 pm
activists start becoming a presence in washington. it is the moment and that is partially because the clinton is elected and he starts working hard before he declares his candidacy to move silicon valley and make the democrats the party of silicon valley. there were close ties with republicans at the national and state level. there is a moment where they try to figure a medium that is defined as the wild west and that is where the advocates of the internet from the valley are talking about it as a front tier and talking about it in a very frederick jackson turner sort of consciously, not but wide open spaces waiting to be conquered. but ares possibility arguing for keeping something that soundsciple
1:41 pm
very good to members of both parties as well as defenders of free speech that she is keeping the internet free and out of the influence of the media companies, including cable is possible. in which mediaue is defined as the telecoms and as the cable providers who want to control the information flow and were newly formed organizations like the electronic foundation are arguing to keep it a jeffersonian internet, so to speak, where many different voices can blossom. parties,f both republicans first in the opposition and then after 1995 as the majority in congress led by newt gingrich, and democrats in the white house are one of the few things in the mid-1990's the two parties can't agree on by and large. and thisnot realized,
1:42 pm
is less the case of the government letting the american people down really not realizing that some of these little companies would become google or facebook or even silicon valley itself, those people who were arguing for the jeffersonian .nternet about talked eloquently this notion and he reflected that we had no idea that people would use the internet and we were naive and didn't know they would use the internet for bad as well as for good. neither did regulators or politicians in the 1990's. there was no conception and the technology was so very little understood. meredith and i were talking last night that there are very few people in washington that really grasped the technology which is
1:43 pm
a challenge. that golf -- lack of golf of standing transposes into policymaking. currentnd, what is our technical platforms unregulated? they are not regulated like cable companies or anything else. asare now grappling thelatory -- where companies grow so large and we need to figure out some way to contain and channel this energy in a way that allows them to continue to grow and but also not to have these second order and third order effects. and 1997, there is a moment that is so
1:44 pm
consequential to what happens with immediate technology landscape is now in the state didn't realize what they were deciding to do are not to do. >> we will get your thoughts on that but let's take our first question. it is so interesting. have 70 sitting who built a haveower fm station -- we someone is sitting here who built a low-power fm station in kentucky and i am wondering what you are seeing as a potential for democratic media or policies that could potentially promote a jeffersonian internet or radio television competing from the bottom up that actually brings the voices of people to the surface.
1:45 pm
>> i can start by saying that i don't have the solution, but i can tell you that is a debate that has been at the core of regulatory issues. when connie asked the question of how has the state of the people down, i would have actually said -- i think that politicians are constantly having regulatory debates in the 1970's and 1980's and they are rethinking about how they can restructure the regime and many people are pointing out the problems. of diversity -- diversity and that we need to empower local communities and return the media back to the is so powerful in their debate and how they are
1:46 pm
framing it. they are talking about the importance of consumers and privileging their interests. what they actually do is they are shaped more by their self interest. tensionthere is the that has always been there and it is waiting through what these policies could actually do. would they provide more diversity, more ways for local communities to have control or do they just replicate corporate structures to allow for the massive amounts of mergers that happened in the 1980's and 1990's? we have a question appear. let me ask meredith, you were a member of the media.
1:47 pm
you are a reporter for the philadelphia inquirer and now you are a member of the media in era that you work in. how have you been welcomed by the journalistic community that in this new area you want to work in? meredith: one of the wonderful things of working in journalism as opposed to tech is journalism is vastly last sexist than the text industry. the sexism you face as a woman doing computer science, i found it unbearable. everything they say about the take womenes that out of tech careers is true. journalism, for all of its faults, is just an extraordinary place compared to the tech industry. it feels like a privilege to be able to do what i love, which is
1:48 pm
building technology in a realm that i really love and communicate with people about what i am doing. are opend journalists to using your kind of data like in their stories? meredith: journalism is a fast growing field. it actually dates back much further. the first time that somebody used a computer for an investigative reporting story wasn't 1968. it was a reporter named bill meyer who looks at the detroit dominants and the narrative was that the race riots that most of the people involved were lower-class. he did this analysis. used socialvey and
1:49 pm
scientific research in order to conduct a survey. [no audio] through assisted reporting. the is what we called in 1980's and 1990's the big revolution was that every reporter had a desk top computer. we are moving off of mainframes and it was a big revolution that you can use spreadsheets and databases. data journalism is what we started calling it when we used more internet tools.
1:50 pm
>> thanks, yes. >> excellent panel. i love the discussing -- discussion you had. my question is for meredith. i would like to note -- would it be fair to say there are links between the rise of ai and the decline of humanity over the last 30 years? theo, what can we do in humanities to take on techno shovel is him -- techno chauvinism? it is about staying relevant. there is a certain kind of mentality that there is that reinforces and rewards techno chauvinism and is also why humanities are not attracted to policymakers. havep signs and economics had a bigger problem.
1:51 pm
meredith: that is a really good question what can we do to work against this? i think it starts with admitting that techno chauvinism exists and pushing back against it and saying that technical solutions are not necessarily superior to solutions from social sciences or humanities. each is valid. fundingto look at inequality. we have to look at funding for humanities and social sciences versus funding for data science, and we have to remedy that particular inequality because there is a lot of nonsense that gets funded and a lot of the
1:52 pm
funds could be reappropriated and put into the neh and nea. we have to think about the money . we also need to address economic inequality in terms of the pay gap. one of the reasons we don't have more data journalists is because of the really profound a gap between what you can make as a journalist and what you can make as somebody who does ai in silicon valley. you go into journalism and say you are going to make $30,000 or $40,000 a year as a starting salary. you can make literally 10 times as much as a starting salary just out of college doing ai. that is absurd and it did not used to be the case. and 1970's when technology policy was developing, the gap between what you made as a doctor or lawyer
1:53 pm
and we made as a social worker was much smaller. now the gap between what you make as a technology executive and what you make as a teacher is unfathomable. one thing we can do is pay teachers more. [laughter] meredith: not just university, but k-12. if we pay teachers more, then we will have more talent in the classroom teaching our younger generations about technology. -- when i meet computer science teachers, a lot of them are wonderful. they used to be jim teachers and ymaching computer science -- g teachers and now teaching computer science which is basically how to use word. i think it is about economics
1:54 pm
and looking at priorities and also thinking about ralph and -- race and ethnicity. part of the narrative has been in technology that it is objective and unbiased and therefore superior. incrediblynore important social factors like how race and ethnicity functions , you build systems that do not get us toward the kind of society that we want to live in. a discipline called algorithmic reporting that is my little corner. field. promising one of the things we do in
1:55 pm
algorithmic accountability reporting is we look at the black boxes of algorithms using to make decisions on our behalf. we interrogate them and ask if they are fair or just. generally, the answer is no. we also build our own algorithms how systemslook at function and to find the flaws in the system. margaret, when you were ?ooking at yours, what is it margaret: techno chauvinism has a history. at two valley looks professions that were entirely white and all-male. they were not necessarily elites -- there were plenty of penniless boys from south carolina who got scholarships to m.i.t.. a lot of the founding generation
1:56 pm
of the valley were men from a modest background who went to university because it had free tuition and came to stanford for grad school because they could work and go to school at the same time. was all white and all-male. it is the world of engineering and engineering where women were not -- apartment chairs could say if a woman wanted to major in math, sorry we don't allow women in this program. as the 1950's and 1960's. the other was finance/mba executive management. harvard business school did not admit women. world. very homogenous the magic of silicon valley is my friendime that talks about a relay wastes --
1:57 pm
relay race. we are passing the baton. the semi conductor funds the personal computer generation and then does the same to the internet generation and the social media generation. they have what they say is pattern recognition. i am going to invest in this person because they went to stanford in computer science they are wearing a hoodie and they are somewhere on spectrum. it is also this but things where gut thing because you believe in the person. that is the challenge. if you want to explain the magic of silicon valley. the other dimension of the history is there is a little history. there is a lot of money. darpa has become the giant in your science, in part because it
1:58 pm
is government austerity and everything else that caught away even computer sciences -- tagon and had it and a way to work on that was the only way you could get money what you want to do certain parts of the government, and the military is one part of the u.s. government that gets money and appropriations. parts of the research establishment have been cut away. [no audio] the political street in the way that this has been structured and embedded in the larger
1:59 pm
narrative of history that so many people in this room right about and think about and so many are watching our thinking about and living. that is the way you identify how you perhaps change. anyone looking at does show the instances of where things did change remarkably. this are frustrated by ballasts and technologists -- this balance and technologists realize there must be reframing and incorporation. they are understanding this is the way to get to a different future. >> next question. politicalu look at polarization and dysfunction today, you have to look at cable tv and the internet as to of the primary drivers of this.
2:00 pm
they are right at the top of the list. think andder what you they are only growing stronger and more in american daily life -- what is the way out of this? i wonder what you see in terms of what comes next and what is the way out of fixing this problem. >> it is a really great question. >> it's a really good question. dominant narrative around cable is it has created i thinkarization, but that narrative does foreground technology part. cable is doing this, rather than a variety of politicians who are cable platforms for different strategies. really brilliantly saw an opportunity to take c-span and turn it into a way to
2:01 pm
blast his opponents, even though no one else is watching, and nationalize congressional politics. i think that it is important to think about how there are choices in terms of how the but also there's the ramification of relying, putting that faith in the market, right? be aboutoing to competition and what cells becomes defined as news, then you have a very different style of news. one of the parts that is important to understand. the news that existed in the 1960's and 1970's advocated for this consensus. white,riven by
2:02 pm
andle-class and wealthy men did not allow other voices to come into play. one thing i appreciate about what cable does in terms of providing tens and hundreds and so many more channels that it does give voice to different perspectives. shift, there is a shift from an elitist perception of what constitutes as news and where people are going further information to this more diverse -- and again, bringing in those market principles, right? news, how people vote with their remote controls. i think that there's a payoff, but it's important to know this older system of broadcast network television also had a lot of problems inherent as well. in terms of solutions, i do not have any concrete ones.
2:03 pm
the media is recognizing its reputation and the political choices in how to deploy those media formats are really important to consider. >> you said 10% of the american people at the height of walter kwok i doing the evening news or watching him, and yet today -- walter cronkite doing the evening news were watching him, 23 times that number -- not the percentage, but the number are involved in
2:04 pm
twitter and facebook and that kind of thing. go from there. different types of information. as kitty was saying, -- as katie was saying, it's highly curated, but curated by people in power. by the late 1960's you are getting pushback on that, but there is a certain worldview and point ofview and the view of the ivy league, east coast educated media. you could not have silly news stories. what cable creates initially and -- internetimate has exacerbated is the spin cycle, just this hunger for content and which trivial things become multi-day news stories in the way these millions of people are using -- including all of us, the way we use media -- is
2:05 pm
much less deliberate. you're not sitting down at certain times like, now, i shall sit down and look at twitter for 30 minutes and get everything i need to know. it comes in snippets. this is one of the upsides of the internet age, we know everything going on in the world and there was a lot of bad stuff that was not revealed. now there's revelation. to all ofcomes immune this bad stuff. you do not take things as seriously. whereas when walter cronkite turned to the camera and had a brief editorial moment in which he said the vietnam war has reached a stalemate, this is something -- we are in something the wayt get out of in
2:06 pm
we expect, that ricocheted through politics. lyndon johnson did not run for reelection -- we do not have those moments anymore, even though there's so much more consumption of so much information. next question? >> one of the things i appreciate, meredith, about your stance -- they do not know the basic people who are really formulating this layer of complexity around us. we, in our own have not dealt
2:07 pm
with too much of it. we have not integrated that you make it really part of their understanding. and because we have only a few , and mediacles here has surprised itself by, we did the facebook movie. i think that historians are not prepared for these speed of that industry because we like to, for decades to look back -- two, 3, 4 decades back to look on things. i think it has to be more of a you, getting more
2:08 pm
of a historical perspective. i really like that a lot. what do you think the biggest thing that historians are missing about this moment of technology. , realizing secret that we are in a renaissance? margaretk if you read 's book in my book next to each other i think it will probably
2:09 pm
give a really good historical overview as well as technical overview for how do we understand all of these verses. publishers have only been investing in books that counter for thenant technology last four or five years. it's not surprising we have not before nownarrative because publishers are driven by imperatives. everybody believes technology is the future and everyone believes the techno-libertarian rhetoric and everyone believes the new communal list rhetoric about, oh, cyberspace is going to be so different and it's going to change the world and empower all. or four past three years of people start to say, maybe that's not true. i am excited that dialogue is
2:10 pm
happening now. one thing that is important to start grappling with, the question of how do we do history ?n the future when you think about twitter posts as an historical archive, those are not being preserved anywhere. so what you get from twitter as a civilian is you get a garden theref twitter data, and is a firehose of all the twitter , but you have to pay for it. twitter is not going to be around forever. what's going to happen to all of that data at? newspapers and how our newspapers archived? we know a lot about how to
2:11 pm
archive good news because you and find any library paper from 1849 and read the entire paper. you can see all of the ads and that's a really useful tool for history, but you can't go to the boston globe and see everything that was written in the boston globe on a given day in 2002, because there's the print paper and then there's the digital version of the paper and the website and then their social media, and god knows what else. the ads change for everybody, so you can't see those. proprietary ad technology.
2:12 pm
>> this is a really big problem, the fact that we have invested in all of these technological , it'ss for creating media really great, but at the same time we are shooting ourselves in the foot because in five years you're not going to be able to read any of today's news. to projects are really hard preserve. you are picking up that mirror for your own industry, historians, particularly people teaching history -- what do you think? question makes me think in my research, which is how technology is defined is a process.
2:13 pm
again, seeing all of these different moments, looking at cable and how people are talking about how it can be used, its potential. this is so deeply embedded in the politics of that particular moment, and it changes so dramatically and that is one of the fascinating things about the cable industry. it's not a new technology in the 70's. it's not a new technology in the 90's, but the way it is talked and howd his potential it is talked about is about these political battles. so, i think it's really important to understand that and to think about who is ofluencing that discussion how technology is being defined.
2:14 pm
ridingrs, constituents to their representatives, demanding access, demanding certain things. lobbyists are playing a key role shaping the public relations politicians, how isy understand technology frequently shaped by how they use it. those are key things to consider at this moment when everything is changing so quickly. there is a reason my book ends in the 1990's. the environment changes -- >> you say that now. >> all of a sudden everything does escalate really quickly, but some of those fundamental questions are still at play. thise historians up for challenge?
2:15 pm
>> of course. tech -- ase in meredith said, to years ago, four years ago, we were changing the world for the future and now we have swung violently to the things are bad, bad, bad, so bad. person say, the maybe it is not all good and now i am, we have supercomputers in our pockets, guys. let's think about -- so what historians are good at is nuance,there's complex, making sense of the data, showing the good and the bad, showing how and why you can grapple with that and understand the phenomenon is not just all helping all bad, but people understand something as this complex subject that is actionable.
2:16 pm
that is where the historian's superpower is, bring this together and the other dimension history, writers of history have an obligation with the state of the internet i -- archive broadly defined. we need to be our google activist's. we need to be talking about here is how historians do what they do. it is how you grapple with the twitter feeds and the ephemeral internet-based advertising -- how do you preserve that records ? not just that record, but the broad record of the web itself.
2:17 pm
institutional -- an instant to channel project. >> we have time for one more question. >> companies like facebook enter to become self-appointed politicalf proper speech through stalinist phrases toe hate speech they used suppress conservative perspectives on issues. there are couple of incidents as this with covington catholic high school being rated by the it american indian activists and the new york city man who posted be parity video of nancy pelosi online got pilloried.
2:18 pm
have you see government policymakers and scholars addressing this weaponization of political differences in their future writings? question?combine that i'm very interested you talked about public policy. you talked about technology. where do you see the influence of advertisers in the shaping up -- i have often said to my inventor of the mute button ought to get a nobel peace prize. influencetent do they or the competition for them see on cablet we
2:19 pm
tv? >> who was to start? weaponization, advertising? questions ase being very connected. the advertising, the ad-based model, the model by which these platforms think about -- , the debate about who speech, these companies are by their ad-based model and their shareholders and they are for-profit companies, but they are also informed by politics,- small p the origin being the gate to the computer science building. kind of the don't be evil idea of we are in the business of
2:20 pm
creating a platform in which conversation can happen. but the way that this functions now, these are incredibly important medium companies, these platforms of become places for speech of all kinds, and actually what is being understood as censorship of some companiesa product of that don't want to take sides or don't know how to navigate what has become -- they have become producers and curators of media, and their algorithm is the underlying mechanics of what is enabling these companies to do what they do and to sell ads and a very tailored ads for individual users, is making a runaway train, a process where you have different pieces of that has a way of spiking out.
2:21 pm
for my understanding and the understanding of how , i see apanies work desire to keep this fight for -- these things are very different from when it was a search engine created by a -- this is the dilemma of these companies. they need to take sides without taking sides, if that makes sense, and at the same time they have to serve the ad-based model because how do you change it? probably the way it's going to be changed is with the third part of the triumvirate, the state, some sort of regulation. what is that regulation going to pursueke and how do you
2:22 pm
the jeffersonian internet dimensions of this and allow different voices to be heard spectrum without having the state of affairs we have right now which no one is really happy with. take the advertising part of the question. a really important part of the story, arguments for cable television in the 1970's and 1980's really changed on the idea that subscribers would he the ones that cable would be serving. again, the empowerment of the would offerat they new types of programs, from --n2 them to be to c-span
2:23 pm
mtv to c-span. hbo one of the early models of this, all subscription-based. and some of those channels of remains subscription-based, but the majority have shifted toward an advertising model and that and intover the 1980's the 90's as well. that's a really interesting shift in terms of the business model where the cable industry begins with all of these ideas about how are they going to be different question mark they will be different from broadcasting. they will solve these problems model, butoadcasting they actually become more consolidated, corporate media structure. they take on these media structures and the come a new player in that model and they replicate it.
2:24 pm
>> i would say one of the things i am really interested in and thinking about the ad model, i am interested in advertiser fraud. they estimated something like $7 billion of internet advertising is about ad fraud. there is vast amount of fraud internetnet -- in advertising. i've heard that organized crime is heavily involved in ad fraud these days. this is something i have wanted to write about for long time but i have not found the right hook yet. factormajor complicating when we think about the success of facebook and twitter and their ad model. also the historical perspective
2:25 pm
of how you dress -- how you address this because there is a similar crisis in the wild west era newspapers, because you print this and this was your circulation. we had things like the came intog bureau being. we do have the iab, the internet but theirg bureau, effectiveness is limited. i'm really curious about that. said,et, one thing you and katie i was reminded about this. governmentt
2:26 pm
regulation has advanced around cable television, i was thinking about the way that telecom policy evolved, the way that broadcast regulatory policy evolved and i've been thinking about the silicon valley idea of iteration. that's one idea i really like. ok, we canidea that, try something and see if it works and if it doesn't, utah to do better. i think that's a way that this the with the law because law evolves. the law is the original artifact that iterate, right? constitution. we have iterations of the constitution. when it comes to regulating social media platforms, i wonder if we should regulate and should, right? that we
2:27 pm
get rid of the idea we should get it right on the first try and do something because doing nothing does not seem to work very well. maybe let's try something, put it in place for a little bit and if it doesn't work, let's iterate. >> [indiscernible] [laughter] the timekeeper. we have to wrap up. thank you very much. >> thank you. >> thank you. [applause] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2019] >> this weekend on american history tv, tonight at 8 p.m. eastern on lectures in history, comparisons between abram lincoln and andrew johnson on the constitution. cartoon.t the whole
2:28 pm
it's a very different impression of what people thought about johnson at the time. was a defender, but he did not understand the constitution, it was above disability, and he was acting in unconstitutional ways. >> a preview of an exhibit at the national archives. >> women in new jersey were along america's first voters. when new jersey became a state, new jersey's state constitution made no mention of sex when discussing qualifications. women who owned enough property, primarily widows and single inen could and did vote elections at the local, state, and national level. >> at 8 p.m. on the presidency, author john farrell on next and. early life and
2:29 pm
career. chest but he went to every the fw, every american legion hall. hisold them he owed them best judgment, not obedience. not just whendid the republican nomination. he won the democratic nomination. he wagered everything and carry away. he ran unopposed in his first reelection campaign. explore our nations passed on weekend onstory tv c-span3. >> american history tv products are now available at the c-span store. to what is new and check out all of the c-span products.


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on