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Internet-Including Institutions

Pia Mancini's Talk on Democracy Discusses Outdated Systems

— October 10, 2014 — Keynote Trends
In her talk on democracy, Pia Mancini discusses outdated institutions and how democracy needs to change in a digital age.

The speaker describes how we are 21st century citizens doing the best we can to interact with 19th century-designed institutions that are in turn based on information technologies from the 15th century. In the past, the best possible system was one where a few made daily decisions in name of many and the many got to vote every couple of years. However, the costs of this system are incredibly high, the language is very cryptic and people are completely left out of how authorities reach decisions. The result is either silence or noise.

The talk on democracy explores how current information technologies let us express our concerns more than ever before, but we still feel the need to take to the streets in order to be heard. The speaker believes we need to go from a model of 'no taxation without representation' to 'no representation without a conversation.' Even though people have been very successful at organizing protests, they have struggled to use the same networks and technologies to successfully articulate an alternative. She asks if the internet is the new printing press, then what does democracy look like for the internet era?