Our lives are increasingly shaped by 'Big Tech' giants like Google, Meta, TikTok and Amazon. But who holds these companies to account? Can individual states do so or is international cooperation required? What does democracy look like in the age of technology? And what happens when technology is used to further authoritarianism? Join us to explore the contemporary challenges of governance.
How do we sustainably govern emerging tech?
Google, Amazon, Meta and other emerging tech giants are more powerful than many nation-states; yet these giant global institutions are largely governed by a narrow set of objectives and answerable to a relatively small set of stakeholders. All of our lives are shaped by these giants - for better or ill - yet, we have little to no say in how they are governed. How does a democratic world reconcile itself with such a concentration of largely unregulated power? Concurrently, Artificial Intelligence continues to develop alongside new forms of Augmented and Virtual Reality. What values and principles should regulate our use of and interaction with these developments? Come and find out as we discuss the governance of emerging technology in the light of sustainability.
What is democracy?
To be civilised in the 21st century is to be democratised. Democracies are being challenged the world over by forces ranging from nationalist ‘strongmen’ to ‘robber baron’ big tech firms. We often use the word ‘democracy’ as an emblem of civilization, but what does it entail in today’s globalised world with borderless technology? What is the nature of democracy, and how might technology increase our direct participation? Are we becoming more democratic or less, and was Plato right when he said “dictatorship naturally arises out of democracy”? Come and explore the fundamental nature of democracy.
China - an unsustainable state?
We are no longer living in a unipolar world where one hegemon - the United States - rules. Instead, we are increasingly living in a world where the Chinese Communist Party leads an authoritarian state suppressing the will of millions, and furthering its own agenda across the globe through a form of mercantilism. How accepting should we be of an authoritarian state which today is responsible for subjugating its own people, as well as Tibetans and Uighurs? Has the greed of the West for cheap Chinese products clouded its own moral compass? Can the authoritarianism of the Chinese state be reconciled with liberal democracy? And how should the West and India face up to this rising power? Come and explore whether the authoritarian Chinese state of today is sustainable.