The Brave New World of Political Technologists

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If you are British, why did you vote to remain or leave?

Are our choices really our own? To what degree do outside influences and our subconscious determine our choices? How many social media platforms have you joined and shared your data with? Most of us register and opt-in without much of a thought. Powerful organizations use our data every day to influence our decisions. 

Have a listen to the following episode from BBC's Analysis Podcast and think twice about how your decisions are made. If you think you are a free agent, you might want to reassess. 

British Politics: A Russian View

Analysis

Peter Pomerantsev asks why new techniques in political campaigning have succeeded and what the consequences are for society. He has a different view to most from his past career working inside the TV industryin Moscow.

The future arrived first in Russia. The defeat of communism gave rise to political technologists who flourished in the vacuum left by the Cold War, developing a supple approach to ideology that made them the new masters of politics. Something of this post-ideological spirit is visible in Britain. Centrism no longer seems viable. Globalisation is increasingly resented. Ours is an uncertain political landscape in which commentators and polls habitually fail to predict what is to come. There was a time when if you lived in a certain place, in a certain type of home, then you were likely to vote a certain way. But that is no longer the case. Instead, political strategists imagine you through your data. The campaigns that succeed are the ones that hook in as many groups as possible, using advances in political technology to send different messages to different groups.

Pomerantsev, one of the most compelling voices on modern Russia, is a senior visiting fellow at the London School of Economics and is the author of "Nothing is True and Everything is Possible: Adventures in Modern Russia".

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Do you think society at large is capable of getting out ahead of the curve when it comes to understanding these kinds of issues? Perhaps we have no real choice except to go along for the ride. 

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Steven Cleghorn

Steven is an autodidact, skeptic, raconteur and film producer from America who has been traveling since he was a zygote. He's a producer at The Muse Films Ltd. in Hong Kong and a constantly improving (hopefully) Globe Hacker. He's seeks the company of interesting minds.