Can Our Democracy Survive the Internet?

Aspen Ideas Festival 2017

John P. Carlin

06/26/2017

Privacy + Data Security, Global Risk + Crisis Management, and National Security

Video

The 2016 presidential campaign broke down previously established rules and distinctions between insiders and outsiders and various types of media — all accelerated by the Internet. The velocity of information and viral communication can create dysfunction in campaigns and within democracy. And for a relatively small investment in resources, a country's media can be infiltrated by bots, trolls, hackers and leakers, often without much concrete evidence connecting the attack to the state sponsor. How do we fight information attacks? How do we repair polarization created by the Internet? One of the major criticisms of how the Internet has shaped democracy is its tendency to polarize public opinion. Is online filtering pushing us into "filter bubbles" and echo chambers? If so, can we solve the problem or is it a structural issue of online discourse that we have to adapt to?

Watch John Carlin's panel discussion.

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