Emancipation cannot be programmed: blind spots of algorithmic facilitation in online deliberation

Nardine Alnemr

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Challenges in attaining deliberative democratic ideals – such as inclusion, authenticity and consequentiality – in wider political systems have driven the development of artificially-designed citizen deliberation. These designed deliberations, however, are expert-driven. Whereas they may achieve ‘deliberativeness’, their design and implementation are undemocratic and limit deliberative democracy’s emancipatory goals. This is relevant in respect to the role of facilitation. In online deliberation, algorithms and artificial actors replace the central role of human facilitators. The detachment of such designed settings from wider contexts is particularly troubling from a democratic perspective. Digital technologies in online deliberation are not developed in a manner consistent with democratic ideals and are not being amenable to scrutiny by citizens. I discuss the theoretical and the practical blind spots of algorithmic facilitation. Based on these, I present recommendations to democratise the design and implementation of online deliberation with a focus on chatbots as facilitators.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)531-552
Number of pages22
JournalContemporary Politics
Volume26
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 19 Oct 2020

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