‘Networld’ explores the history of social networks

Reviewing classic experiments and cutting-edge research, host Niall Ferguson demonstrates how human behavior, disruptive technology and profit can energize ideas and communication, ultimately changing the world. All three episodes of this groundbreaking new series, “Niall Ferguson’s Networld,” airs on March 17 at 7 p.m. on Arizona PBS.

Ferguson visits network theorists, social scientists and data analysts to explore the history of social networks. From the Reformation and 17th century witch-hunting, through the American Revolution and to the nightmare visions of Orwell’s 1984, Ferguson explores the intersection of social media, technology and the spread of cultural movements.

WATCH: Niall Ferguson’s Networld

7 p.m.: “Disruption”

Focusing on the great network revolution of our time and the Protestant Reformation, Niall Ferguson untangles important issues surrounding why social media networks polarize us, why some ideas go viral and why truth itself is at a disadvantage.

8 p.m.: “Winner Takes All”

Looking at lessons from the past, Niall Ferguson tells the story of how a decentralized worldwide web shifted to become a highly profitable network controlled by a tiny elite selling our attention for billions to the world’s advertisers.

9 p.m.: “Networld War”

Focusing on the geopolitics of our interconnected world, with lessons from terrorism and surveillance, Niall Ferguson shows how our democracies are under threat from forces that exploit and weaponize the social networks that we invented.

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