We’ve lived so long under the spell of hierarchy—from god-kings to feudal lords to party bosses—that only recently have we awakened to see not only that “regular” citizens have the capacity for self-governance, but that without their engagement our huge global crises cannot be addressed. The changes needed for human society simply to survive, let alone thrive, are so profound that the only way we will move toward them is if we ourselves, regular citizens, feel meaningful ownership of solutions through direct engagement. Our problems are too big, interrelated, and pervasive to yield to directives from on high.
—Frances Moore LappĂ©, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

The Holberg Debate 2017: "Propaganda, Facts and Fake News" with J. Assange, J. Pilger & J. Heawood

Click here to access a 2:40:40 video featuring the moderator asking each of these participants, Julian Assange, Jonathan Heawood, and John Pilger, a series of questions. (I am updating this post as I listen to this video. Please skip the second speaker. My reaction was that he is a fake speaker and a fake human. I'm looking forward to Pilger because I know he is so very human. 1:49 PM: Yes, Pilger was wonderful as he reviewed the record of Western journalism during the past 60 years. The record was one of fake or omitted news we have received--or not--up until the present, and most of it related to major war crimes. Updated again at 2:32 PM Seattle time after listening to all of it.)
At the 2017 Holberg Debate, Julian Assange, John Pilger and Jonathan Heawood discussed the presence of propaganda in news and social media, and its democratic implications.
The event took place at the University of Bergen, Norway, on December 2nd, 2017.
What really piqued (def.#3) my interest listening to Assange was when the moderator got on the topic of artificial intelligence (at 45:40m) in the context of the information war (the crafting of news and information to get people to believe and do things that would promote capitalist ruling class interests, and likewise, not believe and do things that might interfere with ruling class interests). At this point Julian Assange made this rather startling statement in reference to artificial intelligence: "...it's overwhelmingly the biggest threat to humanity as much as...a much bigger threat than climate change." His following remarks elaborated on this statement which I found most interesting and insightful.

Here are the brief show notes:
About 00:11:00 Julian Assange; About 00:56:00 Questions for Julian Assange; About 01:19:00 Jonathan Heawood; About 01:43:00 John Pilger; About 02:17:11 Las Q&A Session.
I rarely post videos or article of this length; but because this topic is so important, I decided to post it. I recommend listen to Assange's response to a question posed by the moderator at 45:40m regarding artificial intelligence, skip the second speaker, and listen to Pilger's entire address.
About the speakers:

Julian Assange joins the panel via videolink. Assange is an award-winning journalist and the founder and editor-in-chief of WikiLeaks. He is also a programmer, cryptographer, author and activist. Founded in 2006, WikiLeaks has published millions of leaked documents and several videos. This includes logs that relate to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the controversial “Collateral Murder” video from Iraq, U.S. diplomatic cables, and election campaign related e-mails from the Democratic National Committee and from Hillary Clinton's campaign manager, John Podesta.

Jonathan Heawood is the CEO and founder of IMPRESS, the only press regulator to be recognised as independent and effective under the Royal Charter in the United Kingdom. He has previously worked as a journalist and human rights campaigner, and he is a former director of English PEN. Heawood has written on free speech and regulation for various publications, including The Encyclopedia of Twentieth-Century Fiction, Critical Quarterly, Journal of Media Law, Ethical Space and Communications Law.

John Pilger is an Australian journalist, author and documentary film-maker. Pilger has covered military, political and cultural conflicts around the world for more than five decades, and his criticism of American, Australian and British foreign policy is strongly reflected his documentaries and writings. He worked at the Daily Mirror from 1963 to 1986 and wrote a regular column for the New Statesman magazine from 1991 to 2014. Pilger has won numerous awards as a journalist and film-maker, and he is one of only two people to win British journalism’s highest award twice.

The Holberg Debate 2017 is a collaboration between the Holberg Prize, the Fritt Ord Foundation and Norwegian PEN (Western Norway).