This week’s episode features an interview with Roger McNamee. His official bio at Elevation Partners, an investment firm, says that since 2017 he has been involved in ”a campaign to trigger a national conversation about the dark side of social media“. He is the author of a book, Zucked: Waking Up to the Facebook Catastrophe, published by HarperCollins in 2019, that has an account of his role as an investor and advisor to the company and his ultimate recognition of the harms it causes at scale.
To many listeners, his voice on these issues is well known- he is a frequent commentator on technology on shows such as “Squawk Alley” CNBC and on Ali Velshi’s show on MSNBC, and he is a regular at conferences that delve into topics at the intersection of tech and democracy. He knows the tech bro culture well enough to have served as a technical advisor for multiple seasons of HBO’s “Silicon Valley” series, a show that lampoons the people and industry there.
Roger also a philanthropist and a musician- he plays in the bands Moonalice and Doobie Decibel System, on bass and guitar. If you follow him on Twitter @moonalice, you will get to hear his frequent livestreams, sometimes solo, and sometimes with the band.
I caught up with Roger to get his sense of where the movement to regulate and hold technology firms to account is at the moment, particularly in the U.S.
Justin Hendrix is CEO and Editor of Tech Policy Press, a new nonprofit media venture concerned with the intersection of technology and democracy. Previously, he was Executive Director of NYC Media Lab. He spent over a decade at The Economist in roles including Vice President, Business Development & Innovation. He is an associate research scientist and adjunct professor at NYU Tandon School of Engineering. Opinions expressed here are his own.