The uses and effects of technological change permeate through all of our systems, including our democracy. Yet given political polarization and uncertain legal rules, our current climate presents unique challenges to our ideas and values of democracy. How might we use and think about technology to better serve our democratic institutions?
Join Aspen Tech Policy Hub Fellows as they showcase their projects under the theme: Improving Democracy Through Technology. Following the presentations of the projects, Justice of the Supreme Court of California, Mariano-Florentino Cuellar, will give further remarks. The projects to be presented are:
1) Combating Election Disinformation by Shining Light on Dark Ads. Every day, tens of millions of Americans view political advertisements on social media that disguise themselves as unpaid content, also known as “dark ads.” According to NYU researchers, more than half of Facebook pages from May 2018 until June 2019 that displayed U.S. political ads concealed the identities of their backers. Matt Volk and Elizabeth Allendorf joined forces to develop a game that educates the public about dark ads, and to propose a series of actions that regulatory entities can take to increase transparency in this ecosystem.
2) Using Automated Advocates to Provide Legal Services at Scale. The United States faces a crisis in its civil courts, where more than 80% of low-income households lack adequate legal representation. A promising new class of technology tools (“Automated Advocates”) can help close that gap, but regulatory complexity about who may practice law make it difficult for companies to build these tools and for regulators to distinguish good actors from bad. Jessica Cole led a project to coalesce and define Automated Advocates in order to regulate and incentivize their use in civil courts.