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Sep 01

Date and time: 1 September 2020, 3 pm – 4 pm
Speaker: Jeremy Pitt, Imperial College London
Title: Democracy-by-Design

Watch the recorded presentation:

Basic Democracy and the Self-Organisation of Collective Governance

Welcome to the first Digital Futures Fly-High Fika seminar after the summer break! We are excited to have Jeremy Pitt from Imperial College London, who is on a mini-sabbatical at KTH. If you are interested in meeting Jeremy, drop him a message! Please feel free to also forward the invitation to your research groups.

Jeremy will also deliver a follow-up talk on the design of socio-technical systems for the digital transformation on Sep 15th, so save the date.

Picture of Jeremy PittAbstract: Basic democracy has been proposed as a means of collective self-governance distinct from liberal democracy, i.e. it is a conventional rule-based system of empowerment, decision-making and public action that is both prior to and separate from concerns such as justice, morality and rights. This talk will focus firstly, on a multi-agent system simulation implementing the principles of basic democracy which shows how to mitigate the risks of oligarchy, autocracy and majoritarian tyranny; and secondly, on extracting the principles of democracy-by-design, an instantiation of value-sensitive design which puts qualitative human values as a primary ’supra-functional’ requirement for engineering socio-technical systems. The talk will conclude with a discussion of the implications for algorithmic comparative politics, ownership of the means of social coordination, historical political science, and the public understanding of democracy; and briefly, how a complete breakdown of basic democracy and knowledge management processes led to “the 6-letter ‘B’ word”.

Bio: Jeremy Pitt is Professor of Intelligent and Self-Organising Systems in the Department of Electrical & Electronic Engineering at Imperial College London, where until recently he was Deputy Head of the Intelligent Systems & Networks Group. His research interests focus on developing formal models of social processes using computational logic, and their application in self-organising multi-agent systems, for example, fair and sustainable common-pool resource management, computational justice and democracy. He also has strong interests in human-computer interaction, socio-technical systems, and the social impact of technology; with regard to the latter, he has edited two books, This Pervasive Day (IC Press, 2012) and The Computer After Me (IC Press, 2014). He has been an investigator on more than 30 national and European research projects and has published more than 200 articles in journals and conferences. He is a Fellow of the BCS, and a Fellow of the IET, and is Editor in Chief of IEEE Technology and Society Magazine.