Niall Ferguson: How viruses (and fake news stories) spread, and how America screwed up its coronavirus response


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Historian Niall Ferguson, the author of bestselling books such as The Ascent of Money and The Square and the Tower, talks with Recode's Kara Swisher about his new PBS series, Networld, which explores the history and science of networks. He discusses why it's important to understand networks, and how they can become the sources of revolutions; the economic implications of misinformation about coronavirus, which has been exacerbated by lax tech regulation; and why it's dangerous to invite Silicon Valley to track private individuals even more closely. "We actually are a form of China already," Ferguson says. "It’s just that the data are in the hands of Mark Zuckerberg and his counterparts at Google." Plus: How the US is doing the worst combination of things in response to coronavirus: "Half-assed social distancing" while still shutting down the economy.


Niall Ferguson (@nfergus), host, Networld, and author, The Square and the Tower


Kara Swisher (@karaswisher), Recode co-founder and editor-at-large

More to explore:

On Reset, Arielle Duhaime-Ross explores why — and how — tech is changing everything.

On Recode Media, Peter Kafka interviews business titans, journalists, comedians and podcasters about the collision of tech and media.

On Pivot, Kara Swisher and Scott Galloway talk about the big tech news stories of the week, who's winning, who's failing, and what comes next.

And on Land of the Giants, Jason Del Rey chronicled the rise of Amazon. Season 2 will focus on Netflix and is coming soon!

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529 episodes