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Combining Human and Machine Intelligence to Enhance Democracy

Combining Human and Machine Intelligence to Enhance Democracy

Nov 16

5:00 pm

Where: The Alumni Center at Northeastern University, 716 Columbus Ave, Boston, MA 02120

Register to attend in-person at the Alumni Center: Comment end tickets-736601052577?aff=oddtdtcreator

Register to attend virtually:

Join Sir Geoff Mulgan, Professor of Collective Intelligence, Public Policy and Social Innovation at University College London (UCL), for a conversation on whether democracy can support effectiveness, amplifying the intelligence of a society rather than dumbing it down; and whether it can be loved and trusted, and seen as essential to people’s wellbeing. 

The conversation is part of the Burnes Center for Social Change’s  Rebooting Democracy in the Age of AI Lecture Series, which provides an opportunity to talk with innovative designers, thinkers, and changemakers from around the world working to “do democracy” differently. 

Mulgan believes that in many countries it is failing on both counts, and is focused on how to solve it, making the most of ubiquitous and emerging technologies, including Artificial Intelligence (AI), to help. He’ll examine what intelligence means (essentially the capacity to choose well) and the nature of democracy as an assembly of multiple elements.  

By breaking democracy down into its elements we can then understand how AI platforms and other tools can enhance a society’s ability to know what is happening in reality and how people are feeling; how to focus on new and important issues; how to generate options; how to debate and scrutinize them; how to mobilize the best available knowledge to do so; how to decide; how to implement, often with active citizen engagement; and how to monitor and adapt.  

He’ll emphasize the idea that a healthy democracy has a repertoire of often very different tools for handling different types of problems – from monetary policy to moral dilemmas, neighborhood improvements to science.  To grow this repertoire, we need both innovation and experiment – harnessing the insights from the many underway now.  

Mulgan will set out a research agenda for the next decade: how democracies should handle long time horizons, conflicting values, society-wide conversations, and how to make the most of available global knowledge.

Sir Geoff Mulgan is the author of the upcoming book “When Science Meets Power” (Wiley, January 2024), which calls attention to the growing frictions caused by the expanding authority of science, which sometimes helps politics but often challenges it.Mulgan was the Chief Executive of Nesta, the UK’s innovation foundation between 2011 and the end of 2019.  Between 1997 and 2004, he held multiple roles in the UK government including director of the Government’s Strategy Unit and the Performance and Innovation Unit, and head of policy in the Prime Minister’s office.  From 2004 to 2011, he was the first Chief Executive of The Young Foundation. He was the first director of the think-tank Demos; and has been a reporter on BBC TV and radio.  

The Rebooting Democracy in the Age of AI Lecture Series provides an opportunity to talk with innovative designers, thinkers, and changemakers from around the world working to “do democracy” differently.  We will explore how machine learning, natural language processing, generative AI, can enable more participatory and inclusive ways of solving problems and strengthen our ability to collaborate in governing ourselves.  Through online and in-person conversations with pioneers working to democratize power in governments, schools and workplaces, these conversations aim to address how to use new technologies to strengthen democracy.

The series is hosted by the Burnes Center for Social Change and the GovLab, in partnership with the Institute for Experiential AI at Northeastern University. 

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