9 episodes

Tech Empire addresses challenges posed by the information society. Hosted by Michael Kwet at Yale University, it takes a global perspective on 21st century politics. This show challenges the tech-driven status quo being created by state and corporate power, and explores how we can create a world where technology makes life better for everyone. From big data surveillance to information equality, from #BlackLivesMatter to #FeesMustFall in South Africa, Tech Empire strikes at the heart of power in the digital age.

Tech Empire with Michael Kwet Yale University

    • Education

Tech Empire addresses challenges posed by the information society. Hosted by Michael Kwet at Yale University, it takes a global perspective on 21st century politics. This show challenges the tech-driven status quo being created by state and corporate power, and explores how we can create a world where technology makes life better for everyone. From big data surveillance to information equality, from #BlackLivesMatter to #FeesMustFall in South Africa, Tech Empire strikes at the heart of power in the digital age.

    The Climate Crisis and Degrowth with Robert Pollin & Jason Hickel

    The Climate Crisis and Degrowth with Robert Pollin & Jason Hickel

    This episode welcomes Robert Pollin and Jason Hickel to discuss the climate crisis and degrowth. The show is divided into four main parts. First, it lays out key concepts and information about the climate crisis. We then discuss solutions, including a global Green New Deal and a post-growth, redistributive solutions for society. Next, we explore the concept of “degrowth”, as understood within the context of colonialism and global inequality. This section includes a conversation between Pollin and Hickel about planetary boundaries and the growing degrowth current within the environmental movement. Finally, we discuss the Biden administration and European policy, as well as workers’ movements and international activism from below.

    Robert Pollin is Co-Director and Distinguished Professor of Economics of the Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. His most recent book is called Climate Crisis and the Global Green New Deal: The Political Economy of Saving the Planet, co-authored with Noam Chomsky.

    Jason Hickel is a Visiting Senior Fellow at the International Inequalities Institute at the London School of Economics, and Senior Lecturer at Goldsmiths, University of London. His most recent book is called Less is More: How Degrowth Will Save the World. You can follow Jason on Twitter at @jasonhickel.

    Michael Kwet is a Visiting Fellow of the Information Society Project at Yale Law School and received his PhD in Sociology from Rhodes University in South Africa. You can follow Michael on Twitter at @michael_kwet.

    Robert Pollin at UMass-Amherst: https://www.umass.edu/economics/pollin

    Jason Hickel at Twitter: https://twitter.com/jasonhickel

    Michael Kwet at Twitter: https://twitter.com/Michael_Kwet

    Tech Empire at Twitter: https://twitter.com/techempirecast

    • 1 hr 17 min
    Uber and worker exploitation in the transportation industry with Veena Dubal

    Uber and worker exploitation in the transportation industry with Veena Dubal

    This episode welcomes Veena Dubal to discuss Uber and workers in the transportation industry. The show is divided into three parts. First, it explains how “e-hailing services” like Uber and Lyft work, with a focus on how they impact workers. Next, we discuss Proposition 22 in California, a ballot proposal to exempt “gig workers” from classification as employees. Finally, we discuss alternative models of how ride hailing should work in the internet era.

    Veena Dubal is a Professor of Law at the University of California, Hastings in San Francisco. She has been cited by the California Supreme Court, and her scholarship has been published in top-tier law review and peer-reviewed journals, including the California Law Review and the Berkeley Journal of Empirical and Labor Law. Professor Dubal is currently writing a book manuscript – Driving Freedom, Navigating Neoliberalism – on how five decades of shifting technologies and emergent regulatory regimes changed the everyday lives and work experiences of ride-hail drivers in San Francisco. She has been published in numerous media outlets, including The Guardian, Slate, and the Los Angeles Times. You can follow her at @veenadubal.

    • 1 hr
    The Quantified Worker and Worker Surveillance with Ifeoma Ajunwa

    The Quantified Worker and Worker Surveillance with Ifeoma Ajunwa

    This episode welcomes Ifeoma Ajunwa to discuss how emerging technologies are changing the 21st century workplace. Job applications are now screened through automated systems, workers are being asked to use wearables like Fitbit for worker wellness programs, and employers are spying on worker smartphones. We discuss new tech in the workplace, where the law stands on these issues, and what be can done to protect worker rights.


    Ifeoma Ajunwa is Professor of Employment and Labor Law at Cornell University's Industrial and Labor Relations School, and a faculty associate of the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University. She is a 2018 recipient of the Derek Bell Award from the Association of American Law Schools, and the author of the forthcoming book, The Quantified Worker, with Cambridge University Press. Ifeoma has published several law review articles examining emerging technologies in the workplace. You can follow her on Twitter at @iajunwa.

    • 1 hr 5 min
    Your Phone Is Tracking Your Location with The NY Times' Jennifer Valentino-DeVries

    Your Phone Is Tracking Your Location with The NY Times' Jennifer Valentino-DeVries

    This episode welcomes Jennifer Valentino-DeVries to discuss how smartphone apps are tracking your precise physical location. The data collected is being used for targeted advertising, retail analytics, and financial investments. Your location information can reveal sensitive information, such as who you sleep with, your religious affiliation, or your daily habits.


    Jennifer Valentino-DeVries is a technology reporter for The New York Times. She is the lead author of a recent article, “Your Apps Know Where You Were Last Night, and They’re Not Keeping It Secret.” Jennifer has previously worked for The Wall Street Journal, the nonprofit investigative newsroom ProPublica, at the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University, at the Houston Chronicle and at the Associated Press in Thailand. You can follow her on Twitter at @jenvalentino.

    • 1 hr 9 min
    Arab Spring, pt 2: Jamal Khashoggi and Government Repression w/Iyad el-Baghdadi & Belabbes Benkredda

    Arab Spring, pt 2: Jamal Khashoggi and Government Repression w/Iyad el-Baghdadi & Belabbes Benkredda

    This episode welcomes Iyad el-Baghdadi and Belabbes Benkredda to discuss the Arab Spring and its aftermath. Today’s show is the second of 2 parts. We explore the murder of Jamal Kashoggi, whom our guests knew personally; government repression, the situation in Palestine, Iyad el-Baghdadi's life journey, and the US role in the Middle East.
    Iyad el-Baghdadi is among the most influential human rights activists who rose to prominence during the Arab Spring protests. He is one of the top voices in the online Arab world, and has been published at The New York Times, The Washington Post, and Foreign Policy. He also runs a podcast called The Arab Tyrant Manual, and is a fellow at the Norwegian think tank Civita. Iyad is a stateless Palestinian who was born in Kuwait and raised in the United Arab Emirates, he is now a political refugee in Norway.
    Belabbes Benkredda is an Algerian-German social innovator, and the founder of The Munathara Initiative, an Arab online and television debate forum that promotes the voices of youth, women and marginalized communities in the Arab public. He was a recipient of the 2013 Democracy Award of the National Democratic Institute, and in 2016 became a World Fellow at Yale’s Jackson Institute for Global Affairs. Belabbes is currently a senior research scholar at Yale Law School.

    • 50 min
    Arab Spring, pt 1: Twitter, Revolution & Global Politics with Iyad el-Baghdadi & Belabbes Benkredda

    Arab Spring, pt 1: Twitter, Revolution & Global Politics with Iyad el-Baghdadi & Belabbes Benkredda

    This episode welcomes Iyad el-Baghdadi and Belabbes Benkredda to discuss the Arab Spring and its aftermath. Today’s show is the first of 2 parts. We explore the use of Twitter and social media in the Middle East, the Arab Spring uprisings, the influence of the Obama administration during the Arab Spring, and the role of Putin and China in the Middle East and world affairs. Part 2 will air next week and cover additional topics.

    Iyad el-Baghdadi is among the most influential human rights activists who rose to prominence during the Arab Spring protests. He is one of the top voices in the online Arab world, and has been published at The New York Times, The Washington Post, and Foreign Policy. He also runs a podcast called The Arab Tyrant Manual, and is a fellow at the Norwegian think tank Civita. Iyad is a stateless Palestinian who was born in Kuwait and raised in the United Arab Emirates, he is now a political refugee in Norway.

    Belabbes Benkredda is an Algerian-German social innovator, and the founder of The Munathara Initiative, an Arab online and television debate forum that promotes the voices of youth, women and marginalized communities in the Arab public. He was a recipient of the 2013 Democracy Award of the National Democratic Institute, and in 2016 became a World Fellow at Yale’s Jackson Institute for Global Affairs. Belabbes is currently a senior research scholar at Yale Law School.

    • 1 hr 3 min

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