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Home > View & Discuss > Mark Pesce on the end of reality

Mark Pesce on the end of reality

  • Date recorded: 12 Dec 2017

  • Duration: 44:25

'Everything in the world is starting to use the data collected about you, to move you. That's why this isn't a story just about Facebook – it's a story about us. And it gets weirder.'

– Mark Pesce

About this recording

Listen to an illuminating conversation with writer Mark Pesce on how the internet is blurring our understanding of reality.

Pesce explains how Facebook tracks users' movements on its app – 'every swipe, scroll, like and share' – then uses machine learning to construct newsfeeds that confirm and amplify users' interests and beliefs. The result is a technology of surveillance that, Pesce warns, is set to become the sanctioned media monopoly of the 21st century, providing a new level of social management disguised as user engagement.

Pesce suggests we all need to think about the world that we want to live in and choose the tools we want to support this world. Cognitive bias amplification – when digital platforms like Facebook give us what we want – is undermining our ability to live with the differences of others and is hastening 'the last days of reality'.

Following the lecture are 30 minutes of Q&A with Meanjin editor Jonathan Green.

This is an audio recording of a free lecture held at State Library Victoria on 12 December 2017.


Mark Pesce is an inventor, writer, entrepreneur, educator and broadcaster with 35 years’ experience working in technology. He hosts the Next Billion Seconds podcast, and holds honorary appointments at both the University of Sydney and UTS, with a particular focus on how people share and learn in the 21st century.

Jonathan Green is the editor of Meanjin.