After two-plus years of pandemic hell, it is beyond understandable that so many desperately want to forget the horror and havoc of COVID-19 and move on with their lives, but it’s imperative that we learn from catastrophic pandemic policy mistakes and hold accountable the powerful forces that took advantage of this crisis for their own gain. Aided by governments and public-private partnerships, Big Tech has been one of the biggest offenders in this regard. As Kevin Klyman notes in his recent extensive essay for Jacobin, republished here by TRNN, governments partnering with tech companies to battle the COVID-19 pandemic didn’t save lives, but it did put lots of money in the hands of Big Tech and provided a “once-in-a-generation” opportunity for powerful companies to take and control our sensitive data. In this interview for the TRNN podcast, Editor-in-Chief Maximillian Alvarez speaks with Klyman about his essay and about the jaw-dropping grift that Big Tech has been running while the rest of us have struggled to survive over the past two years.

Kevin Klyman is a policy researcher and a data scientist who advocates for responsible uses of technology to reduce poverty and advance peace. He is currently a researcher at Harvard’s Kennedy School, where he publishes research on how technology can help prevent war between the United States and China. Before that, Klyman worked at the United Nations Foundation and the UN Secretary General’s artificial intelligence lab, where he wrote data protection policies that were adopted by the World Health Organization. His freelance writing has been published by a range of outlets, including South China Morning Post, TechCrunch, and Jacobin.

Pre-Production/Studio: Maximillian Alvarez
Post-Production: Jules Taylor


The transcript of this podcast will be made available as soon as possible.

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Ten years ago, I was working 12-hour days as a warehouse temp in Southern California while my family, like millions of others, struggled to stay afloat in the wake of the Great Recession. Eventually, we lost everything, including the house I grew up in. It was in the years that followed, when hope seemed irrevocably lost and help from above seemed impossibly absent, that I realized the life-saving importance of everyday workers coming together, sharing our stories, showing our scars, and reminding one another that we are not alone. Since then, from starting the podcast Working People—where I interview workers about their lives, jobs, dreams, and struggles—to working as Associate Editor at the Chronicle Review and now as Editor-in-Chief at The Real News Network, I have dedicated my life to lifting up the voices and honoring the humanity of our fellow workers.
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