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Democracy in the Digital Age

Democratic processes and institutions in the era of fake news and social media platforms

Democratic processes and institutions are being severely tested in the era of fake news and through divisive and polarizing social media platforms. Can technology play a constructive role in fostering cooperative action at the international level?

With the growth of digital media, algorithms control what information we receive and when. Anyone can share or find a story, but it is increasingly difficult to do so anonymously, and the reach of stories from different sources is far from equal. This presentation will explore the changes shaping media consumption in the age of Artificial Intelligence, and how they erode trust among individuals, governments and businesses, undermining the legitimacy of our democratic processes and institutions.

In this context, the classic system of party politics displays a chronic inability to solve society’s most pressing problems as deference to corporate patrons, voter suppression, and replacement of voter concerns with party priorities have hindered the expression of popular will. At the international level, political leaders are incapable of acting in concert to tackle the most urgent of global crises. Traditional governance platforms have been helpless in slowing the cycle of Destructive Global Competition. Can the online platform of Simultaneous Policy proposed by John Bunzl foster international cooperation where all else has seemingly failed? Noam Chomsky has noted: “It’s ambitious and provocative: Can it work? Certainly worth a serious try”.

Our Panelists:

Imai Jen-La Plante, is a Ph.D. in physics from the University of Chicago, and Yodh Prize Laureate for outstanding experimental work. She is focused on the role of technology in addressing diverse business challenges as Chief Innovation Officer at Berney Associés and analyzes media data for diplomatic purposes at Presence Switzerland, a unit of the Swiss government. She lived for four years in Tokyo, Japan, where she trained computers – and a few humans – to turn data into better business decisions. Previously she contributed to the discovery of the Higgs Boson as a researcher at the European Center for Nuclear Research (CERN) in Geneva, Switzerland.

John Bunzl (UK), is the CEO of an international textile company, a writer, and an international campaigner with a simple and powerful vision for more effective global cooperation. In 2000, he founded the International Simultaneous Policy Organization (ISPO) and launched the Simultaneous Policy (Simpol) campaign. John is a regular contributor to the Huffington Post, and has spoken at various TEDx events. He has also presented to the World Social Forum, the World Trade Organization, The Schumacher Society, and at various universities including the London School of Economics.

Adam Koniuszewski, Executive-in-Residence, GFI, GCSP. CPA Fellow, CFA, World Academy of Art and Science Associate Fellow, took part in project on the future of democracy. After an international business career, he turned his focus to diplomacy, security and governance matters as CEO of President Mikhail Gorbachev’s Green Cross International. Launched the Bridge Foundation to raise global challenges awareness with youth and business community.

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GCSP, Maison de la paix, Petal 4, Chemin Eugène Rigot 2D, 1202 Geneva

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