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Technology and Democracy: Three Lessons from Brexit

Technology and Democracy: Three Lessons from Brexit Philos. Technol. (2016) 29:189–193 DOI 10.1007/s13347-016-0229-z EDITOR LETTER Luciano Floridi Published online: 2 August 2016 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016 The British referendum in favour of the exit from the European Union, known as Brexit, has been described as Bprobably the most disastrous single event in British history since the second world war^ (Wolf, 2016). I agree. But, as the phrase goes, never waste a good crisis, especially in terms of understanding what went wrong, and what could be avoided in the future. There are many lessons that can be learnt from Brexit. Three seem to be particularly relevant when it comes to the relationship between democracy and digital technologies. First lesson. It is common to consider representative democracy a compromise due to practical constraints. True democracy would be direct, being based on unmediated, constant, and universal participation of all citizens in political matters. If we lived in a small community where everyone could learn about common issues, participate in their debate, identify and discuss the available options and their consequences, their respective advantages and disadvantages, and eventually reach a reasonable consensus, informed and tolerant, on what to do, based on universal suffrage and by a majority of individual http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Philosophy & Technology Springer Journals

Technology and Democracy: Three Lessons from Brexit

Philosophy & Technology , Volume 29 (3) – Aug 2, 2016

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Publisher
Springer Journals
Copyright
Copyright © 2016 by Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht
Subject
Philosophy; Philosophy of Technology
ISSN
2210-5433
eISSN
2210-5441
DOI
10.1007/s13347-016-0229-z
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Philos. Technol. (2016) 29:189–193 DOI 10.1007/s13347-016-0229-z EDITOR LETTER Luciano Floridi Published online: 2 August 2016 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016 The British referendum in favour of the exit from the European Union, known as Brexit, has been described as Bprobably the most disastrous single event in British history since the second world war^ (Wolf, 2016). I agree. But, as the phrase goes, never waste a good crisis, especially in terms of understanding what went wrong, and what could be avoided in the future. There are many lessons that can be learnt from Brexit. Three seem to be particularly relevant when it comes to the relationship between democracy and digital technologies. First lesson. It is common to consider representative democracy a compromise due to practical constraints. True democracy would be direct, being based on unmediated, constant, and universal participation of all citizens in political matters. If we lived in a small community where everyone could learn about common issues, participate in their debate, identify and discuss the available options and their consequences, their respective advantages and disadvantages, and eventually reach a reasonable consensus, informed and tolerant, on what to do, based on universal suffrage and by a majority of individual

Journal

Philosophy & TechnologySpringer Journals

Published: Aug 2, 2016

References