Summary of The Lunatics Are Running the Asylum

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The Lunatics Are Running the Asylum summary
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  • Applicable
  • Eye Opening
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Several factors make the Internet a breeding ground for conspiracy theories. Vaccine advocate Rénee DiResta packs this short talk with pertinent, sometimes amusing examples of modern conspiracies to prove her point: Ethics must take a more prominent role in the design of online platforms. If you’ve enjoyed the lectures and writing of design ethicist Tristan Harris, add DiResta’s presentation to your viewing list. getAbstract recommends this lecture both to social media users and to tech industry engineers interested in improving the integrity of online content.

About the Speaker

Renée DiResta is a founder and marketing director for Haven, a trade technology platform. She advocates for Vaccinate California and is a Presidential Leadership Scholar.



Is the Brazilian government lying about the Zika virus? Is fluoride a “toxic mind control substance” in the employ of fascist regimes – and dentists? Was the 2015 military training exercise Jade Helm 15 an attempt by then US president Barack Obama to impose martial law in Texas? These conspiracy theories seem laughable, yet they grew across social media. And most adults use social channels, such as Facebook, as their main news source.

Online filter bubbles drive the growth of these far-fetched myths and intrigues. Social media algorithms show users content tailored to their...

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