Tuesday, September 27, 2022

What is the Relation between Technology and Democracy?

The market witnessed a shift in research orientations around the relationship between technology and democracy since 2006, with the focus directed on the threats technology and social media posed to democracy, especially on epistemic grounds. 

It also meant less emphasis on the possibilities of social media and technology to move democracy forward, especially global movements for racial and social justice and equality organized primarily online. 

Threats to Democracy by the Internet  

Usually, democracy is characterized by reflection and rational public debate as both are lost practical truth and a normative model. Since 2016, a revolutionary change towards a more cynical account focused on the threats to democracy posed by the Internet, especially social media. Democracy is also characterized by the freedom to choose representatives in elections, which has been lately affected by social media

New domains of research query, large-scale funding ambitions, and organizations dedicated to studying disinformation and misinformation, polarization, and propaganda launched in the same year have rapidly risen to distinction and influenced public discussion profoundly. 

In recent years, media consumers have become fascinated and alarmed by a variety of media categorization that includes ‘misinformation, fake news, disinformation, media manipulation, coordinated inauthentic behavior, and propaganda.’ By the end of 2021, Facebook claimed that a disinformation network with ties to China used hundreds of fake social media accounts spread a claim that the U.S. pressured scientists to blame China for the coronavirus. This action would affect people’s perception of such matters in a democratic environment.   

An example worth mentioning is 2016’s widespread of fake news during American elections, which led many voters to change their minds about the candidates they previously chose based on false information.  

Those classes hold the essential criteria that technology might contribute to and offer consumers, impacting democracy negatively by showing it in a wrong notion contributing to many choices while there are none.  

Use of Technology Will Weaken Democracy  

The tech for democracy is an essential concept, especially when considering that half of the people expect that humans’ use of technology will weaken democracy between now and 2030 due to the scope and speed of reality distortion, the effect of surveillance capitalism, and the decline of journalism. On the other hand, a third expects technology to support democracy as reformers discover ways to fight back against info-warriors and confusion. 

The years of unrestrained enthusiasm about the benefits of the Internet have been observed by a period of techlash as users are concerned about the actors who manipulate the Internet’s reach, speed, and complexity for destructive purposes.  

During the past four years – with direct focus on the Brexit decision in the UK, the U.S. presidential election, and many other polls – matters related to digital technology and democracy have been a top concern.  

On another note, open-source democracy is a way for many old methods and techniques to no longer work in a world increasingly deprived of deference. Rather than being concerned by this, we should welcome the growing confidence and interest in politics that this represents.  

Artificial Intelligence Democracy  

Artificial intelligence (AI) creates opportunities to strengthen democracy and public discussions and challenges democratic norms. Public administrations are increasingly using AI day after day to automate public service allocation. Judges use risk-assessment algorithms to choose a person’s eligibility for parole or bail. In contrast, social media platforms use AI to optimize content restraint, and political actors can use these platforms to employ it in misinformation and microtargeting. 

Job candidates in the U.S. rarely know when hidden AI tools reject their resumes; however, New York City residents could soon get more say over the computers making behind-the-scenes decisions about their careers.  

Last but not least, law enforcement agencies use facial recognition systems and predictive analytics to bolster surveillance. Many questions automatically pop: Who will be responsible for establishing principles of AI governance? How can the decisions of AI systems be aligned with democratic values?   

Unrealistic democratic standards arrange the negative impact of technology on democracy and are excessively focused on technology’s effects on democracy. In parallel, it neglects the growing practical evidence of group conflicts over social status, identity, and power lying at the root of contemporary democratic crises in the U.K and U.S.  

Summary  

Technology has played a pivotal role in the political ecosystem almost on a global scale, leading to changes in the way the political sphere is shaped. Democracy is part of this political sphere, making technology change its concept with time. For that reason, democracy was highly affected by technological development and its evolution, leading to what can be considered a change in the concept of democracy.  


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