If Then

Early Libertarian Dreams of a Free Internet Didn’t Work Out as Planned

In the early days of the web, many thinkers envisioned a digital world free from government control. Now, corporations have taken over.

Listen to If Then by clicking the arrow on the audio player below, or get the show via Apple Podcasts, Overcast, Spotify, Stitcher, or Google Play.

In this episode, April Glaser is joined once again by guest co-host Meredith Broussard, a data journalism professor at New York University and author of Artificial Unintelligence: How Computers Misunderstand the World.

First, historian Mar Hicks joins the show to talk about the tech industry’s longtime aversion to organized labor and how that’s clashing with recent worker actions at major tech companies like Google and Uber.


Then, Alexis Madrigal joins the hosts to talk about his recent piece in the Atlantic called “The End of Cyberspace,” where he argues that the ’90s dream of an unregulated internet is starting to fade. According to Madrigal, it’s time to create a new alluring vision for what cyberspace should be.


Stories discussed on the show:

The End of Cyberspace

How to Tell if the Uber Strike Is Working

What the Google Protests Really Need to Achieve

Don’t Close My Tabs:

Meredith: “The Raisin Situation

April: “The Chinese Surveillance State, Part 1” and “The Chinese Surveillance State, Part 2

Podcast production by Cameron Drews.

You can follow April @Aprilaser and Meredith @merbroussard. If you have a question or comment, you can email us at ifthen@slate.com.

If Then is presented by Slate and Future Tense, a collaboration among Arizona State University, New America, and Slate. Future Tense explores the ways emerging technologies affect society, policy, and culture. To read more, follow us on Twitter and sign up for our weekly newsletter.