The Techno-Challenge of Democracy

How technological developments impact on people’s capacity to govern themselves

30 May 2019

While technology is more and more digital, data-driven, decentralised and de-territorialised, democracy is still mostly analogue, value and interest-driven, centralised, and geographically bound.

That we are living in a digital age is common place today. Smart gadgets, the Internet of Things, artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, blockchain and social media are increasingly becoming or have already become part of our everyday life. The challenge for democracy is to provide meaningful content in an age where the political agenda is increasingly dominated by technological imperatives.

There is rising tension between the output-oriented logic of efficiency facilitated by technological development, and the input-oriented logic of legitimate decision-making anchored in the idea of democracy.

Technological advancements of the past disrupted previous patterns of social interactions and political institutions, but it is worth addressing the contemporary challenges posed by technology.

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Robert Csehi

Lecturer and Researcher at the Bavarian School of Public Policy at the Technical University Munich

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