Exponential View with Azeem Azhar
Hacking Democracy
Jun 3, 2017 · 1 hr 38 min
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A recording of an Exponential View salon held in London in May 2017.

“The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter,” said Winston Churchill.

But whatever you think of it, democracy has served us well. An increase in democracy is almost always matched by an increase in GDP.

According to MIT economist Daron Acemoglu, a country that switches from autocracy to democracy achieves about 20% higher GDP per capita over roughly a 30-year period.

Yet data from the end of 2016 suggests that in several advanced economies, including the U.S. and the UK, those born since the late 1980s value democracy less than older cohorts.

We’ve witnessed something driven by the underlying shifts in media, technology, the expression of state power, cultural values, and big money funding data. We’ve experienced a manifestation of new behaviors around the democracy process: the transition from broadcast media to niche media moderated by dominant social media platforms.

Have these behaviors hacked our democracy? For better or for worse?

Azeem Azhar discusses these questions with Carole Cadwalladr, Luciano Floridi, Hari Kunzru, and Tom Loosemore.


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