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Inventing the Future: Historian Jill Lepore in Conversation

Long before the world grew concerned about the invasive practices of Cambridge Analytica and Facebook, a short-lived data analytics firm sprung forth in the 1950s. The Simulmatics Corporation became the template for the now ubiquitous Google, creating a mechanism to mine every detail of human behavior for commercial and political profit. Its simulator, which was christened the “People Machine,” churned out predictions on voting behavior. Harvard historian and New Yorker staffer Jill Lepore excavates a forgotten company whose legacy in predictive analytics is nothing short of the data-mad, algorithmic world we live in today in her latest book, If Then. Dan Schnur, Professor at the Annenberg Center of Communication Leadership and Policy at the University of Southern California and at the University of California, Berkeley, Institute of Governmental Studies, joins her for a conversation.

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This program is presented in partnership with Los Angeles World Affairs Council Town Hall and Writers Bloc Presents


September 22, 2020


11:00 am - 12:00 pm

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