Democracy Summit


Democracy Summit

Democracy, Cities, You, Learn,

This summit is curated in collaboration with Djøf, as part of Techfestival: a 3-day festival in Copenhagen with 200+ events on humans and technology.
Interested? Great! Please apply to join. Note that this summit has limited seats.

An in depth conversation on technology’s influence on our society.

The intermediary actors between our vote and democracy are many. The social media platforms deliver election campaigns and candidates, voting machines count our votes for us, and the coders, programmers, companies, and algorithms behind these intermediaries decide how we express ourselves, who we see, how we engage with them, and in some circumstances how we vote.

This summit is a deep-dive into the ways in which technology affects the structures that make up our democratic society. The internet democratized access to text, sound and video publishing, allowing for an undercurrent of citizen produced media. At the same time, the internet can be switched off to silence dissenting voices and cripples democracy. The internet also allows for vocal antidemocratic voices to spread quickly. Combined with fake news, deep fakes and other types of misinformation it requires vigilance from both the media publisher and consumer when evaluating the validity of the information.

When considering the implications technology has on democracy and society, this summit seeks to find out how technology strengthens the tenets of a democratic society down the foundations we have built since the Athenians.

When social media platforms are bigger than nations, they set their own rules for freedom of expression. What is the constitution of Facebook, Youtube, and Twitter and how do we make sure that they are in line with the expectations and regulations we have of mainstream media?

What are the forces at play when editorial decisions are made by AI, like on Youtube that reportedly promotes radical and controversial content over well-researched balanced journalism? Recommendation engines, AI curated feeds and search engine results are examples of editorial work done by computers, and there is currently little information available on how why and which decisions they are making.

The day will centre around three themes:


  • Electronic voting machines
  • Citizen participation and social media
  • Information and misinformation and algorithms their vehicle

In the last part of the day, the participants will develop a working guide for abating the negative implications social media has on democracy specifically elections.

These guidelines will inform platforms on the responsibility they have of content curated by algorithms and artificial intelligence.


Key Questions to explore

  • From Venezuela, Argentina, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and the United States, electronic voting machines have been adopted to administer elections? What are the risks associated with voting machines?
  • How are civic apathy, civic engagement, and participation affected by algorithms?
  • How are the principles that currently govern an AI editor? On what principles should an AI editor base its work?
  • Are free, fair, and transparent elections possible in the era of social media?

Apply here

Who are your summit hosts?

Berhan Taye (ET)

Berhan researches the intersection of technology and social justice. As a researcher and digital rights advocate, she leads Access Now’s #KeepItOn campaign. She was also was a researcher on the Technology for Social Justice Field Scan project, where she researched the tech and social justice space in the US. Before that, she was a Ford-Mozilla Open Web Fellow with Research Action Design and Open Technology Institute.  

Andreas Wester Juni (DK)

Andreas works in the intersection of digital technology and strategy. As a former civil servant, he has worked extensively in the field of eGovernment and as a management consultant, he has helped government agencies and global companies think strategically about their digital agenda. Andreas is particularly interested in using a deep understanding of how humans think and act to help guide our approach to digital media. 


Next event is: Endings Summit
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