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”.
Introduction: Democracy Disrupted
In October 2018 noted scholar Yuval Noah Harari dropped a figurative bombshell. Renowned for his groundbreaking work on technology and the future of humanity, he had become for many a prophet of our coming ‘smart’ future – for both good and bad. In his bestselling books Sapiens, Homo Deus and 21 Lessons for the 21st Century he predicted a coming reality in which new technology may lead humans to seek anew for immortality and fulfilment. Yet on this day his prophetic words were much bleaker. In an article for the widely read US magazine The Atlantic he boldly examined in his view ‘why technology favors tyranny’, declaring that all signs pointed to future tech such as AI, robotic and social ...