You've got 10 minutes with Einstein. What do you talk about? Black holes? Time travel?

Why not gambling? The Art of War? Contemporary parenting?

Each week, host Jason Gots surprises some of the world's brightest minds with ideas they're not at all prepared to discuss. Join us and special guests Neil Gaiman, Alan Alda, Salman Rushdie, Margaret Atwood, Richard Dawkins, Maria Popova, Mary-Louise Parker, Neil deGrasse Tyson and many more...

Cambridge Analytica whistleblower Christopher Wylie: the cognitive segregation of America

A talented young programmer, Christopher Wylie found himself at the center of a complex plot to overturn the cultural order in the United States and Europe—one that most likely tipped the scales on Brexit and the 2016 US presidential election.

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I don't even know where to begin with this one. You've probably heard of Cambridge Analytica. Maybe you know they're a company that did some nefarious things involving facebook and the 2016 US presidential elections. If you're anything like me, you don't know the half of it. If you get through this episode without wanting to move to a remote hut in the Arctic circle, I will personally refund this hour of your life.

My guest today is Christopher Wylie, author of MindF*ck: Cambridge Analytica and the Plot to Break America. in high school, he found himself on the outside of lots of social circles. Computers and hacker culture gave him community. Identity. From there, it's a long strange trip through progressive politics in Canada to military Psy ops in London to helping Steve Bannon and the Billionaire Robert Mercer build the most powerful psychological weapon of mass destruction in existence—one that very likely won the presidency for Donald Trump and the Brexit vote.

Chris was 24 at the time. When the scale and consequences of Cambridge Analytica got too big to ignore, he turned whistleblower—and none of our lives, his included, will ever be the same.

Conversation starter: A clip from an upcoming episode with Ibram X. Kendi, author of How to be an Antiracist

Gear
  • 12min summarizes hundreds of best-selling books down to essential 12-minute microbooks.
  • Microbooks are downloadable in both text and audio formats.
  • You can request a 12min summary of any non-fiction book not in their vast library.
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Some experiences change you so completely that you're left with a choice: either spend your life running from them or spend your life turning them over in memory, trying to find new ways in, through, and out the other side. The power of the impulse to explain or somehow articulate these experiences is inversely proportionate to other people's ability to understand them. They're everything all at once. It seems to me that my guest today has made that second choice, the hard choice not to run away. Or maybe it's a choice you have to keep making over and over again. His name is Reginald Dwayne Betts. He's 39 years old—an accomplished poet and essayist and a graduate of Yale Law School. But he spent most of his teenage years and young adulthood in prison and over a year in solitary confinement, experiences neither society, nor memory, nor his fellow feeling for the more than 2 million people behind bars in the United States, the vast majority of them black men and boys, has let him forget. Dwayne's beautiful and necessary new book of poems is called FELON, and I'm honored to have him with me here today to talk about it.



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