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 Clash of Techno-Politics
The end of the Cold War seemed to be signalling the beginning of a new era of peace and prosperity. The fall of the Soviet Union promised the eternal reign of liberal democracy and free markets. Francis Fukyuma proclaimed the ‘end of history’, where all major political and economic questions were answered now and forever. He declares:
What we may be witnessing is not just the end of the Cold War, or the passing of a particular period of post-war history, but the end of history as such: that is, the end point of mankind’s ideological evolution and the universalization of Western liberal democracy as the final form of human government. (Fukuyama, 1989: 3)
Politically, it seemed that ‘Pax Americana’ ...