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Take-home messages from the Digital Enlightenment 2019 Conference

The leitmotif of the conference was Fixing the Democracy. Among the suggested
methods, the most discussed was Citizens’ Assemblies – two speakers (Cato Leonard
and Clodagh Harris) shared their positive experience with it. The idea of the method is
gathering a diverse sample of citizens, educating them and allowing to discuss topics of
interest. The Citizens’ Assemblies allow to get a diverse feedback and ideas on
controversial topics, and, at the same time, educate the society. The latter narrows the
perception gap between citizens and experts, represented by scientific communities and
governments, uniting and empowering the society.
A range of contemporary challenges was discussed from technical and sociological
perspectives. Concretely: corporation monopolies, digital data ownership, Chinese and
Russian propaganda and lack of societal leaders.
The feeling after the conference is that the discussed challenges are caused by the
capitalist approach, exploiting various aspects of human nature. For instance, AI is used
by tech corps and governments for habits development and exploitation of confirmation
bias in the society for boosting profits and controlling the masses. Currently, there is no
single method in digital or analogue worlds to address these challenges completely.
Probably the solution should be gradual – solving certain aspects of the challenges at a
time.

Author – Artur Sokolovsky

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