Do new “smart” technologies such as AI, robotics, social media, and automation threaten to disrupt our society? Or does technological innovation hold the potential to transform our democracies and civic societies, creating ones that are more egalitarian and accountable? Disruptive Democracy explores these questions and examines how technology has the power to reshape our civic participation, our economic and political governance, and our entire existence. In this innovative study, the authors use international examples such as Trump’s America, and Bolsonaro’s recent election as President of Brazil, to lead the discussion on perhaps the most profound political struggle of the 21st century, the coming clash between a progressive “Techno-democracy” and a regressive “Techno-populism”.

The Rise of Techno-Populism
The Rise of Techno-Populism

In September 2008 the capitalist world came close to tumbling down. It witnessed the largest economic crash since the Great Depression nearly a century beforehand. As august banking institutions such as Lehman Brothers fell in the space of days, the spectre of mass unemployment and material scarcity seized the popular imagination. Amidst these profound worries was nevertheless a perverse hope. After decades of being told that ‘There is no alternative’ to the free market, suddenly everyone was acknowledging the need for something new. Even the staunchest capitalist supporter seemed quickly to sing a new tune and recognise that indeed the times were a-changing.

The financial crisis represented something far greater than merely an unexpected economic downturn. It was a ...

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