Pew Research Center and Elon University’s Imagining the Internet Center canvassed technology experts in the summer of 2019 to gain their insights about the potential future effects of people’s use of technology on democracy.
One of the most extensive and thoughtful answers to the canvassing question came fromJudith Donath. She chose not to select any of the three possible choices offered in this canvassing, instead sharing two possible scenarios for 2030 and beyond. In one scenario, she said, “democracy is in tatters.” Disasters created or abetted by technology spark the “ancient response” – the public’s fear-driven turn toward authoritarianism.
In the second scenario, “Post-capitalist democracy prevails. Fairness and equal opportunity are recognized to benefit all. The wealth from automation is shared among the whole population. Investments in education foster critical thinking and artistic, scientific and technological creativity. … New voting methods increasingly feature direct democracy – AI translates voter preferences into policy.”