From the Iowa caucuses to the Barnes & Noble fiasco, it’s clear: tech cannot save us | Julia Carrie Wong

February 07, 2020 at 06:43PM

We have fallen for the idea that apps and artificial intelligence can substitute judgement and hard work. They can’t

Every four years, journalists from around the world are drawn to the Iowa caucuses like podcasters to a murder. The blatantly anti-democratic tradition appeals to certain journalistic biases: the steadfast belief of the political press that rural Americans are more authentically American than the vast majority of Americans who live in cities and suburbs – and the irresistible opportunity to pedantically explain arcane rules. You can also get something called a “pie shake” in Iowa, which is, truly, delicious.

I understand the appeal. In 2008, as a graduate student at the University of Iowa, I was so enthusiastic about the caucuses that I stayed in town through winter break during the snowiest Iowa winter on record, rather than risk missing my chance to caucus for Barack Obama. (This was long before I had even considered journalism as a career.) The exercise in “democracy” that I ended up experiencing was patently absurd.

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From the Iowa caucuses to the Barnes & Noble fiasco, it’s clear: tech cannot save us | Julia Carrie Wong …

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