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From one of the leading intellectuals of the digital age, The Digital Republic is the definitive guide to the great political question of our time: how can freedom and democracy survive in a world of powerful digital technologies?
A Financial Times “Book to Read” in 2022
Not long ago, the tech industry was widely admired, and the internet was regarded as a tonic for freedom and democracy. Not anymore. Every day, the headlines blaze with reports of racist algorithms, data leaks, and social media platforms festering with falsehood and hate.
In The Digital Republic, acclaimed author Jamie Susskind argues that these problems are not the fault of a few bad apples at the top of the industry. They are the result of our failure to govern technology properly.
The Digital Republic charts a new course. It offers a plan for the digital age: new legal standards, new public bodies and institutions, new duties on platforms, new rights and regulators, new codes of conduct for people in the tech industry. Inspired by the great political essays of the past, and steeped in the traditions of republican thought, it offers a vision of a different type of society: a digital republic in which human and technological flourishing go hand in hand.
Jamie Susskind is a barrister and the author of the award-winning bestseller Future Politics: Living Together in a World Transformed by Tech (Oxford University Press, 2018), which received the Estoril Global Issues Distinguished Book Prize 2019, and was an Evening Standard and Prospect Book of the Year. He has fellowships at Harvard and Cambridge and currently lives in London.
"Jamie Susskind has established himself as one of the foremost thinkers on the transformativeimpact of the technology revolution. The Digital Republic is as innovative in its ideas as it is sharp with its analysis, offering an important contribution to the future of technology regulation while bridging the gap between changemakers and policymakers.” Tony Blair
“Original and hopeful, The Digital Republic provides a unique guide to the great challenges of the digital age.”
Anne Applebaum, Pulitzer Prize winner, author of Twilight of Democracy and Red Famine
"This is the book America needs now. Susskind thinks deeply, and writes with powerful clarity, about how technology is reshaping society and what we should do about it." Bruce Schneier, author of DATA & GOLIATH
“In focusing on the potential solutions available to govern and regulate the digital realm, Jamie’s book makes a truly novel contribution to the existing body of literature on the now well-documented harms and pitfalls of the existing data economy. This readable primer will appeal to policymakers, law students and lawyers, and technologists alike, and act as a roadmap for anyone wondering how law and governance can reshape Big Tech, harness platform power, end extractive data practices, and ground an ecosystem of new technologies that empowers, rather than exploits, people.” Carly Kind, Director, the Ada Lovelace Institute
“Few understand politics. Even fewer understand technology. Susskind is that rare soul who understands both.” Lawrence Lessig, author of They Don’t Represent Us
"A deeply engaging and thought-provoking book which should be read by everyone (including those with no technical knowledge) who wants to understand how AI can affect our lives, and how we could rise to the challenges this presents." Lord Neuberger of Abbotsbury, President of the UK Supreme Court (2012-2017)
“This book is the blueprint, philosophical and practical, on how to remake our online society to make sure democracy prevails.” Peter Pomerantsev, author of This Is Not Propaganda
"What to do with Big Tech is one of the enduring questions of today. Susskind argues that it is time to deal with ‘the unaccountable power of digital technology’ and offers a primer of how law and governance could be harnessed to reshape Big Tech.” The Financial Times
“The Digital Republic highlights what is at stake amidst digital disruption: the very foundations of our open, rules-based democracies. By focusing back on core principles such as legitimacy, accountability and countervailing powers, Susskind reimagines the role of laws in a digitized, global context.” Marietje Schaake, international policy director at Stanford University's Cyber Policy Center
"In the shadow of algorithmic discrimination, Big Tech's overarching power, and menacing cyberwarfare, Susskind offers an alternative, enticing and convincing in equal parts: digital republicanism. I am sold. Read this book." Viktor Mayer-Schönberger, co-author of "Big Data" and "Framers"
"The sprawling power of tech giants is one of the biggest, most complex and urgent challenges facing modern democracy. It takes rare clarity, focus and intellectual discipline to address the issue as lucidly and practically as Jamie Susskind has done in The Digital Republic." Rafael Behr, columnist for The Guardian, host of "Politics on the Couch"
"If we found ourselves transported to a real, physical country that was governed the way the Internet is, we would surely be horrified. In every public space, we should be subjected to the harangues of obsessives and fanatics, as well as those of replicants programmed to behave like obsessives and fanatics. In every supposedly private space, we should find Orwell's telescreen on the wall. Every transaction -- whether a visit to the doctor or to the pub -- would be preceded by our having to sign a long and baffling consent form that we would never have time to read. We would be followed everywhere by invisible spies and all-too-visible street hawkers. Such is the shocking state of the virtual world, as Jamie Susskind argues in The Digital Republic, a lucid and persuasive argument for the belated application of classical republican principles to the digital realm. His call for a new regulatory order will doubtless be dismissed by those most enriched by the current surveillance-capitalist order. Their sneers will be this book's most compelling endorsements." Niall Ferguson, Milbank Family Senior Fellow, the Hoover Institution, and author of The Square and the Tower.