Atlantic Books has scooped Freedom to Think by leading human rights barrister Susie Alegre, after triumphing in a three-way auction.
Publishing director for non-fiction Mike Harpley bought the book from Charlie Brotherstone at BCM, securing world English rights for print, audio and e-book. Freedom to Think: The Long Struggle to Liberate Our Minds will be published in hardback, trade paperback and e-book in April 2022.
Described as "part history and part manifesto", the non-fiction work charts the history and fragility of human freedom of thought. "Without a moment's pause, we share our most intimate thoughts with trillion-dollar tech companies," the synopsis reads. "Their algorithms categorise us and jump to conclusions about who we are. They even shape our everyday thoughts and actions—from who we date and how we vote, to our interactions with the police. But this is just the latest front in an age-old struggle.
"From Galileo to Alexa, human rights lawyer Susie Alegre explores how the powerful have always sought to get inside our heads, influence how we think and shape what we buy. Providing a bold new framework to understand how our agency is being systematically undermined, Freedom to Think is a ground-breaking and vital charter for safeguarding our minds in the digital age."
Alegre is a leading human rights barrister and associate at Doughty Street Chambers. She has been a legal pioneer in digital human rights, in particular the impact of artificial intelligence on the human rights to freedom of thought and opinion. She is also a senior research fellow at the University of Roehampton and a senior fellow at the Centre for International Governance Innovation.
James Pulford, who will publish the book following Harpley’s departure for Pan Macmillan, said: "Susie explains why intrusive algorithms don’t just invade our privacy but threaten our very humanity. But what really sets her book apart is its bold defence of human rights and its powerful proposals for their role in fighting the encroachment of big tech. It will be hugely influential and I can’t wait to publish it."