Citizen Participation and Machine Learning for a Better Democracy

We are looking forward to seeing you at our second online talk, in which Rob Procter (Warwick University and Alan Turing Institute), Miguel Arana Catania (Warwick University and Alan Turing Institute), Felix-Anselm van Lier (MPI-Halle) will be presenting their work on the use of machine learning tools in digital democracy processes. Here’s a bit more information:

Around the world, digital participation platforms are being used as a tool for direct democracy, aiming to empower citizens to contribute to policy making. As trust in traditional democratic institutions declines, these deliberative platforms offer a way to build new relationships and trust between citizens and policy-makers. However, experience suggests that the popularity of these direct democracy initiatives and the sheer volume of proposals can make it difficult for citizens and policy-makers to make sense of them. Hence, common objectives may prove difficult to achieve; paradoxically, the consequence may be to reduce the willingness of citizens to get involved in direct democracy initiatives. This talk will present the outcomes of a study conducted on the world’s most popular digital participation platform, Consul, and explain how Natural Language Processing and machine learning can be used to address existing challenges of citizen participation platforms. On the basis of these results, the speakers will sketch the opportunities and challenges of such tools for citizen engagement in policy- and law-making processes at different state levels.

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