Using Technology to Deepen Democracy, Using Democracy to Ensure Technology Benefits Us All

Friday, November 11, 2016


I cannot help but think there is a connection between those who respond to the exposure of dangerous deceptions or proposals with "are you surprised?" and the rise and prevalence of so-called data-driven political journalism competing to prepare us to be less surprised by historical events all the time. Political journalism should contribute to our understanding of events and problems and policy proposals so that we make more informed decisions, it should not merely prepare us to be unsurprised by what happens. And if I or anybody else points out that something appears to be erroneous, deceptive, fraudulent, delusive, or deranging surely it is obvious that what matters is not that it is surprising or not, but that it is dangerous and wrong. History is always surprising. People can always surprise you too. The pose of the unsurprised (and given how often the confident predictions and cynical declarations turn out to be quite wrong after all it is indeed nothing more than a pose) masks what seems to me a sadly futile and usually reactionary terror of the contingency of politics which is both its interminable danger and its very real promise.

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