52 Quotes of Franklin Foer

” The biggest problem is that Facebook and Google are these giant feedback loops that give people what they want to hear. And when you use them in a world where your biases are being constantly confirmed, you become susceptible to fake news, propaganda, demagoguery. “
” Monopolists always defend their monopolies by arguing that competition is wasteful. When the railroad barons completed their monopoly, they argued it would be wasteful to have competing rail lines, AT&T said the same thing. But today, the size and scope of these monopolies is different. “
” I grew up using maps and having a sense of direction, and now I have a phone. I used to try to remember numbers, and now I… can just call them up instantly. And that’s great. But what’s happening right now is that we’re in a phase of human evolution where we’re merging with machines. “
” What I worry about ultimately is that when we’re stripped of our privacy, when we’re stripped of free will, when we start to merge with machines in a more robust way, at some point, we’ll cease to be identifiably human. And therefore, I think our humanity is, in some ways, the thing that’s under existential threat. “
” Once upon a time, gatekeepers were newspaper publishers and magazine editors and people who ran radio stations and news networks. And they decided what went above the fold and what went on page A10. “
” In the epic war over Silicon Valley’s intellectual property, Bill Gates was on the side of licensing copyright and robust protections for intellectual property. He wasn’t on the side of the hackers, and he didn’t want information to be free. “
” After the global financial crisis of 2008, populist uprisings had sprouted across Europe. Putin and his strategists sensed the beginnings of a larger uprising that could upend the Continent and make life uncomfortable for his geostrategic competitors. “
” Trump has emphatically denied ties to Russia – a claim refuted by his Twitter feed and a cursory Google search. Putin says his government had nothing to do with the hack of the DNC computers, even though it carelessly left a trail of crumbs tracing back to his intelligence services. The cunning liar is exploiting the blundering one. “
” We’ve been merging with tools since the beginning of human evolution, and arguably, that’s one of the things that makes us human beings. “
” Having a friend in the Kremlin would help Trump fulfill his longtime dream of planting his name in the Moscow skyline – a dream that he pursued even as he organized his presidential campaign. “
” Google is arguably one of the greatest inventions. The search engine is one of the greatest inventions in human history. “
” In 2012, Vladimir Putin returned to the presidency after a four-year, constitutionally imposed hiatus. It wasn’t the smoothest of transitions. To his surprise, in the run-up to his inauguration, protesters filled the streets of Moscow and other major cities to denounce his comeback. “
” Computer scientists have built a set of massive DNS databases, which provide fragmentary histories of communications flows, in part to create an archive of malware: a kind of catalog of the tricks bad actors have tried to pull, which often involve masquerading as legitimate actors. “
” Who can complain about the price that Google is charging you? Or who can complain about Amazon’s prices; they are simply lower than the competition’s. And that’s why I think we need to shift back to a more Brandeisian conception of antitrust, where we consider values other than simply efficiency and low prices. “
” Privacy won’t survive the present trajectory of technology – and with the sense of being perpetually watched, humans will behave more cautiously, less subversively. Our ideas about the competitive marketplace are at risk. “
” Trump considers himself such a virile example of masculinity that he’s qualified to serve as the ultimate arbiter of femininity. He relishes judging women on the basis of their looks, which he seems to believe amounts to the sum of their character. “
” Along with Facebook, Microsoft, and Apple, these companies are in a race to become our ‘personal assistant.’ They want to wake us in the morning, have their artificial intelligence software guide us through our days, and never quite leave our sides. “
” Mark Zuckerberg talks about telepathy, and Elon Musk has invested in trying to create a brain-machine interface. “
” Once upon a time, if you were going to get a loan from me, I would have had to look at your file, and I would have to make a decision about whether youre going to get a loan. Maybe we would meet and talk about it. There would be some level of human involvement and human interaction. Now, a lot of this is determined by an algorithm. “
” If you think of data as kind of an x-ray of our soul, it’s this window into our minds that the company has possessed. It’s a very, very powerful x-ray for them to hold because the more that you understand about somebody, the easier it is to manipulate them. “
” When I started off in journalism, you knew there was an audience out there and that you wanted people to read what you produced. But it also felt like you had a limited ability to shape the audience, or to acquire an audience, for what you were doing. So you didn’t really think too much about that. “
” If you game Facebook and Google in the right way, then you can achieve a mass audience. “
” Of course, formulas always existed in journalism. When I was just getting into the business, ‘Time’ and ‘Newsweek’ knew if they could put Jesus’ face on the cover that it would do really well on the newsstands. So every year, they would put Jesus’ face on the newsstand. There was a formula there. “
” The Internet was invented in an age when our entire approach to regulation has been extremely lax, and so you’d think, ‘OK, there might be a law on the books that governs how these corporations can handle our data.’ “
” There’s this proud American tradition of worrying about the power of communication companies. That going all the way back to the founding, we’ve tried to limit the power of monopolies that played a role in our democracy. “
” Google’s ability to pick winners and losers in the information world is a menace. These companies have the ability to determine which media companies are successful and which ones are failures. If I adopt a business plan that doesn’t line up with Google’s, then they’re not going to reward me. “
” If I’m reading my Facebook feed, it’s using algorithms, procedures, and methods to give me what I want, or what it thinks that I want, or what suits its business plan. “
” Booksellers initially thought of Amazon as their best friend. They were coming in, and they were challenging Barnes and Noble, and Borders, which were the big, dominant corporations of the day, and that they would disrupt them and make them less powerful, but they could never envision that Amazon would overtake them all. “
” Apple was very important in terms of disrupting the music business and remaking the television business. They made it harder for people to make money on the things that they produce. In news, they’ve created Apple News, and they’ve tried to steer people towards information. “
” From the start, the promise of Jurgen Klinsmann as manager of the U.S. men’s national team was revolution: gritty, plodding American soccer would give way to attacking flair; the parade of journeymen would end; an era of skilled stylists would begin. “
” Michael Bradley has the stuff of leadership; he works hard and can break up the opponent’s play. However, that’s not enough to justify his philanthropic attitude towards possession, the generous portion of balls that he contributes to his foes. His sloppiness constantly culminates in unnecessary goals. “
” There’s no reason why there needs to be one search engine or one social network or one store that we buy all of our crap from. It’s possible to imagine a world in which there’s actually competition. “
” I’m reading the way a lot of technology executives have decried ‘gatekeepers’ and ‘traditional media,’ and that one of the promises of ‘new media’ was that it would break the chokehold that old media companies had on public opinion. “
” Trump and Yanukovych have shared the same political brain: an operative named Paul Manafort. “
” Ukrainians use the term ‘political technologist’ as a favored synonym for electoral consultant. Trump turned to Manafort for what seemed at first a technical task: Manafort knows how to bullwhip and wheedle delegates at a contested convention. “
” The genesis of Donald Trump’s relationship with Paul Manafort begins with Roy Cohn. That Roy Cohn: Joe McCarthy’s heavy-lidded henchman, lawyer to the Genovese family. During the ’70s, Trump and his father hired Cohn as their lawyer to defend the family against a housing discrimination suit. “
” As the 2016 campaign has graphically illustrated, Trump doesn’t treat rivals gently. Testifying before a congressional committee in 1993, he began with his rote protestations of friendship. “
” There are, in fact, apps you can use to measure how many times you check your phone, and I shudder to think how many times I check my phone. I’m sure it would be probably in the hundreds of times that I check over the course of the day. “
” Mark Zuckerberg has never really had pressure put on him. He’s an engineer, and he’s created this perfect system that is Facebook, and he’s always been concerned about the internal beauty and logic of this creation that he’s created. I don’t think that the human implications of what he’s created have often been apparent to him. “
” I look at the way that my kids interact with technology, and it becomes a mirror to the ways in which I myself interact with technology. I can see the ways in which that addiction and compulsion starts to settle in on them, and it’s much more unnerving to see it in them than it is to experience it myself. “
” On its face, Donald Trump’s hateful musings about women and his boastful claims of sexual dominance should be reason alone to drive him from polite society and certainly to blockade him from the West Wing. Yet somehow, his misogyny has instead propelled his campaign to the brink of the Republican nomination. “
” Not even Trump’s father’s wealth, nor his father’s faith in his son’s destiny, could save Trump from incessant discipline. At the age of 13, he was shipped off to the New York Military Academy, which employed brutal tactics for the remaking of delinquent character, even resorting to violence to assert control over the boys. “
” Our faith in technology is no longer fully consistent with our belief in liberty. “
” As parents, we have kids who reflect back to us our addiction to devices, and we have all sorts of worries about whether this is a healthy thing. “
” It’s very un-American to say nice things about elites. Elites are often terrible. It’s not like we’ve ever had a perfect set of benevolent democratic elites ruling over our country. But the fact of the matter is that a representative system of democracy delegates power to elites. “
” When you’re staring at your phone to navigate and being led places, you do become less aware of your environment, and the journey becomes kind of automated. There is an aliveness that comes with having to puzzle out directions for yourself. And you have to ask other people for help, which creates opportunity for social connection. “
” The greatest miracle of the Internet is that it exists – the second greatest is that it persists. “
” Hunting for malware requires highly specialized knowledge of the intricacies of the domain name system – the protocol that allows us to type email addresses and website names to initiate communication. DNS enables our words to set in motion a chain of connections between servers, which in turn delivers the results we desire. “
” I’d actually argue that the best thing to happen to the ‘Washington Post’ was hiring Marty Baron, maybe the greatest newspaper editor of his generation. “
” The first book advance I got was paid out in thirds. And over time, as I’ve had different deals, the advances get chopped up into ever-smaller parcels. “
” Self-publishing is fine. But in a world of self-publishing, where everything is about what you get on the back end, there’s a serious disincentive from embarking on really important, vital projects. “
” I think what’s happening with book advances is something that most of the world just doesn’t fully appreciate, especially when it comes to nonfiction, because writing a book of investigative journalism is an expensive endeavor, and the system works best if you have publishers making bets on authors. “