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Out of Order is a German Marshall Fund podcast about how our world was, is, and will be ordered. The Out of Order podcast brings together experts from the German Marshall Fund of the United States and beyond to talk about politics, economics, technology and everything else that might help us understand our disordered world.

Jul 2, 2020

The perils of disinformation are no new phenomenon, but the last few months have shown just how much damage it can do—and all the different ways it can be used. On this week’s episode, Jared Cohen, founder and CEO of Jigsaw—the independent unit at Google focused on building technology to address global security challenges—joins Derek Chollet to discuss the brave new world of the internet in the post-pandemic order. While disinformation once needed to be manufactured, conspiracy theories now grow organically and can then be exploited by both state and non-state actors in far-reaching ways. Who should be charged with stemming this tide, and who actually has the tools to be successful?

According to Cohen, who also has a deep foreign policy background, the international order has two fronts: physical and digital. He explains his surprise (and what early adherents of social media platforms got wrong) with China’s ability to seamlessly adapt to the digital world—and what the coronavirus has exposed about the seeming advantages closed societies have in navigating technology while open societies have struggled.  

The conversation also turns to American history and Cohen’s book, “Accidental Presidents: Eight Men Who Changed America,” and why the upcoming presidential election in the United States could very likely be a perfect storm—a combination of 1876, 2000, and 2020 all in one.