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 Growth of Techno-Democracy
The 21st century was meant to be the golden age of democracy. Instead, the first decades of the new millennium have witnessed a distinct erosion of the popular faith in democracy (Mounk, 2018; Roberts, 2016). It is now viewed as not only almost irredeemably corrupted by elites and special interests but also as fundamentally ineffectual and irrational.
The constant neoliberal refrain that ‘there is no alternative’ has, as shown, fundamentally degraded democracy itself. It became an exercise in at best choosing the ‘lesser evil’ and at worst becoming complicit in reproducing a fatally flawed social and economic order. The belief in the changing power of democracy was decreased, making it appear less as the driving motor of social transformation ...