Main content

Who is watching you?

Andrew Marr discusses the threats to democracy from technology and populism with Shoshana Zuboff, John Thornhill and Ece Temelkuran.

Society is at a turning point, warns Professor Shoshana Zuboff. Democracy and liberty are under threat as capitalism and the digital revolution combine forces. She tells Andrew Marr how new technologies are not only mining our minds for data, but radically changing them in the process. As Facebook celebrates its 15th birthday she examines what happens when a few companies have unprecedented power and little democratic oversight.

Although behavioural data is constantly being abstracted by tech companies, John Thornhill, Innovations Editor at the Financial Times, questions whether they have yet worked out how to use it effectively to manipulate people. And he argues that the technological revolution has brought many innovations which have benefitted society.

The award-winning writer Ece Temelkuran has warned readers about rising authoritarianism in her native Turkey. In her new book, How To Lose a Country, she widens that warning to the rest of the world. She argues that right-wing populism and nationalism do not appear already fully-formed in government - but creep insidiously in the shadows, unchallenged and underestimated until too late.

Producer: Katy Hickman

Available now

42 minutes

Shoshana Zuboff

Shoshana Zuboff is the Charles Edward Wilson Professor Emerita at Harvard Business School. She has been called ‘the true prophet of the information age’ by the Financial Times for her  book, In the Age of the Smart Machine.
The Age of Surveillance Capitalism is published by Profile.

John Thornhill

John Thornhill is the Innovation Editor at the Financial Times writing a regular column on the impact of technology. He is also the founder of the FT125 forum, which holds monthly events for senior business executives, and host of Tech Tonic, the FT’s weekly podcast on technology.
Sifted is the FT's new media site

Ece Temelkuran

Ece Temelkuran is an award-winning Turkish novelist and political commentator whose. She has been twice recognised as Turkey’s most-read political columnist, and twice rated as one of the ten most influential people in social media.
How To Lose A Country - The 7 Steps From Democracy To Dictatorship is published by Fourth Estate