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An urgent polemic about the precarious future of democratic society in the tech age from the bestselling author of The Dark Net

**Winner of the 2019 Transmission Prize**
**Longlisted for the 2019 Orwell Prize for Political Writing**

‘A superb book by one of the world’s leading experts on the digital revolution’ David Patrikarakos, Literary Review

‘This book could not have come at a better moment... The People Vs Tech makes clear that there is still time – just – for us to take back control’ - Camilla Cavendish, Sunday Times

The internet was meant to set us free.

Tech has radically changed the way we live our lives. But have we unwittingly handed too much away to shadowy powers behind a wall of code, all manipulated by a handful of Silicon Valley utopians, ad men, and venture capitalists? And, in light of recent data breach scandals around companies like Facebook and Cambridge Analytica, what does that mean for democracy, our delicately balanced system of government that was created long before big data, total information and artificial intelligence? In this urgent polemic, Jamie Bartlett argues that through our unquestioning embrace of big tech, the building blocks of democracy are slowly being removed. The middle class is being eroded, sovereign authority and civil society is weakened, and we citizens are losing our critical faculties, maybe even our free will.

The People Vs Tech is an enthralling account of how our fragile political system is being threatened by the digital revolution. Bartlett explains that by upholding six key pillars of democracy, we can save it before it is too late. We need to become active citizens; uphold a shared democratic culture; protect free elections; promote equality; safeguard competitive and civic freedoms; and trust in a sovereign authority. This essential book shows that the stakes couldn’t be higher and that, unless we radically alter our course, democracy will join feudalism, supreme monarchies and communism as just another political experiment that quietly disappeared.

Reviews

Highly readable... [Bartlett] is surely right to argue that our futures will be shaped by how the winners and losers respond to the changes unleashed by technology, as much as by the technology itself

John Thornhill, Financial Times

The People Vs Tech is a vital guide and a call addressed to those who are unwilling to play the part of the hapless shipowner in the coming war for our minds and democracy itself

Yiannis Baboulias, Spectator

A superb book by one of the world’s leading experts on the digital revolution... Bartlett finishes by offering us “20 Ideas to Save Democracy". These thoughtful pointers ... provide both invaluable food for thought and a fitting end to an outstanding book

David Patrikarakos, Literary Review

A timely new book by Jamie Bartlett of Demos, The People Vs Tech, spells out why it's vital that politicians seize this moment to reform our attitudes to technology

Helen Lewis, New Statesman

The People Vs Tech is an erudite book that sheds light on the unwanted social costs of the big tech revolution. An essential read for pretty much anyone in the world of politics

Sam Bright, Progress

There are thousands of books about the internet and its impact on society, but this is the only one you really need... I can't think of a more important book right now

Iain Macwhirter, Herald

A fascinating, though sometimes sobering and even frightening, journey

The Quint

Fascinating

Amber Rudd MP

Remarkable

David Anderson QC

Bartlett effectively manages to condense the political challenges of technology into his six-pillar framework. This book can therefore serve as both a foundational introduction to the current technological and political landscape, whilst also providing much-needed clarity to even the seasoned reader of such issues... When it comes to rapidly-scaling technology companies, society must now ask the right questions – and Bartlett’s book is a strong place to start.

Kevin Seidler, LSE Review of Books

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Formats & editions

  • Paperback

    9781785039065

    April 30, 2018

    Ebury Press

    256 pages

    RRP $19.99

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