15 May 2023
A Digital Democracy
that works for the 21st century
“We are 21st-century citizens,
doing our best to interact with 19th century-designed institutions that are based on an information technology of the 15th century” says democracy activist Pia Mancini. It’s precisely this mismatch that makes our parliamentary 'ballot' democracy hopelessly dysfunctional in the current ICT/network era, resulting in polarization and disengagement. But what if we decided to use these technologies for a fix? Digital networks, AI and their applications open up the possibility of large-scale, detailed-level citizen involvement and thus a transformation of representative democracy into a more participatory one. Crowdsourcing of policies is currently already being experimented worldwide at various levels of government. Meanwhile researchers are working on the development of inclusive, unbiased and effective methods for mass deliberation, reviving a spirit of consensus, trust and nuance.
The Science Café on Monday May 15th will host two pioneers and developers of future digital democracy. Martijn de Vries (TUD, Populytics) will talk about the Participatory Value Evaluation, an online method developed in Delft for evaluating policy options with the participation of large groups of citizens. This is already being applied in practice, for example currently in the government's national climate consultation. Davide Grossi (RUG, UvA) studies decision-making in groups and what AI support it requires for realizing the ideal of large-scale online deliberation. He will discuss how we can develop algorithms that we can trust to be truly democratic. Throughout the evening Willem 't Hart, Rotterdam-based keyboardist/pianist/producer with passions both in music and fashion, will play his original blend of hiphop, neosoul and jazz on keys and Ableton.