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How Do We Liberate Our Minds for the Freedom to Think? Susie Alegre

Festival of Ideas
Susie Alegre

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Barrister and legal pioneer in digital human rights Susie Alegre defends freedom of thought and looks at how we can preserve and extend this.

Without a moment’s pause, we share our intimate thoughts with tech giants. Their algorithms categorise us, jump to conclusions about who we are, and shape our thoughts, choices and actions –  from who we date to whether we vote. Our mental freedom is under threat like never before – but this is just the latest in an age-old struggle.

Susie Alegre’s book, Freedom to Think, explores how the powerful have always sought to influence what we buy and how we think. Alegre argues that only by recasting our human rights for the digital age can we safeguard our future.

In this interview with Andrew Kelly from Bristol Ideas, Alegre discusses defending freedom of thought; behavioural microtargeting; democracy; freedom of expression and its limits; pioneer writers and thinkers from the past – from Socrates onwards; the writing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (and how this offers inspiration now on freedom of thought); subliminal advertising; facial recognition technology; personalisation of our social media feeds and how our data is used.

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Freedom to Think by Susie Alegre

Susie Alegre’s Freedom to Think: The Long Struggle to Liberate Our Minds is published by Atlantic Books. Buy a copy online from our partners Waterstones.

Susie Alegre

Susie Alegre is a leading human rights barrister at the internationally renowned Doughty Street Chambers. She has been a legal pioneer in digital human rights, in particular the impact of artificial intelligence on the human rights of freedom of thought and opinion. She is also Senior Research Fellow at the University of Roehampton and Senior Fellow at the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI). Her book, Freedom to Think: The Long Struggle to Liberate Our Minds, is out now from Atlantic Books.

Image credit: Tugce Nelson

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