What impact is AI having on democratic and electoral processes? How is AI affecting the notions of active citizenship and political participation? These are amongst the defining questions the EU is facing in its current trajectory towards the 2030 Digital Decade.
In December 2020, the European Commission published the European Democracy Action Plan, with the goal of building more resilient democracies across the EU by focusing on three pillars of regulatory and legislative action: promoting free and fair elections, strengthening media freedom and pluralism, and countering disinformation. In unveiling the Plan, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen stated: “With the digital revolution under way, citizens must be able to make choices where views can be expressed freely. Facts have to be distinguished from fiction, and free media and civil society must be able to participate in an open debate, free from malign interference. Therefore the EU is taking action to make our democracies in the EU more resilient.”
In addition, the Digital Services Act package was adopted by the Commission as part of the European Digital Strategy, Shaping Europe’s Digital Future. Comprised of the Digital Services Act and the Digital Markets Act, the newly proposed legislative measures are geared towards creating a safer and more open digital space in the EU, with European values at the centre of the new legal framework.
Against this background, the increasing uptake of AI by both public and private actors coupled with the ever-increasing availability of data raises a host of questions for the future evolution of democracies within and beyond the EU. From sentiment analysis to deep fakes, AI technologies can be used to both further and disrupt democratic participation and accountability, while also potentially amplifying trends of polarisation and growing authoritarianism.
In this public hearing, the AIDA and INGE Special Committees of the European Parliament will host two panels of leading experts for an exchange of views on the future of democracy in the digital age and on how to strike the right regulatory balances in our increasingly tech-driven societies.
13:45-13:50 Dragos Tudorache, Chair of the Special Committee on Artificial Intelligence in a Digital Age (AIDA)
13:50-14:00 Lorena Jaume-Palasí, Executive Director, Ethical Tech Society and Founder, AlgorithmWatch
14:00-14:10 Prof. Dr. Yannis Theocharis, Chair of Digital Governance, Bavarian School of Public Policy, Technical University of Munich School of Governance
14:10-14:20 Ambassador Karen Kornbluh, Director, Digital Innovation and Democracy Initiative and Senior Fellow, German Marshall Fund of the U.S.
14:20-14:30 Aza Raskin, Co-founder, Center for Humane Technology and Earth Species Project
14:30-15:10 Exchange of views with MEPs (2 min. question time per political group, 2 min. reply by panelist)
- slot 1: EPP
- slot 2: S&D
- slot 3: Renew
- slot 4: ID
- slot 5: Greens
- slot 6: ECR
- slot 7: The Left
- slot 8: NI
- slot 9: EPP
- slot 10: S&D
15:10-15:15 Dragos Tudorache, Chair of the Special Committee on Artificial Intelligence in a Digital Age (AIDA)