by Innovation in Politics Institute
News and everything you need to know on digital democracy, online participation and e-voting
Go Vocal's co-founders (from left to right): Koen Gremmelprez, Aline Muylaert, and Wietse Van Ransbeeck. They are pictured gathered around a laptop, looking at the screen and talking.

CitizenLab Becomes Go Vocal

Citizenlab is rebranding as Go Vocal. When asked what was wrong with the old name, Van Ransbeeck replied “we felt we had outgrown it.” The team originally chose the name CitizenLab to capture the experimental approach to democracy the Belgian company took when it was launched back in 2015 by Van Ransbeeck and his fellow […]

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David Mas and Hélène Landemore. Black and white portrait photos on a multicoloured background.

What a Global Citizen’s Assembly Powered by AI Might Look Like

AI could simplify the process of running citizens assemblies operating across borders and language barriers, allowing them to address global issues. But should we trust big tech when they start getting involved in these new democratic processes?

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David Mas and Hélène Landemore. Black and white portrait photos on a multicoloured background.

“As long as citizens’ conventions are black boxes, they lack legitimacy”

The French Citizens' Convention on the End of Life recently ended. introduced a new AI tool to make its proceedings and outcome more accessible. We talked to Hélène Landemore, who served on the Convention's governance committee, and David Mas, head of AI for mak

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Arjama Mukherjee and Titus Kaloki, black and white portraits on a multicoloured background.

Fitting a Participation Tool to a New Place

Urban planning tools need to be adapted to the needs of the local community. That's the idea behind U_CODE's pilot project in Nakuru, Kenya.

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A Map of Government: Democracy Guide

When people feel heard and valued by their representatives, they're more likely to engage in the political process. That's the idea behind Democracy Guide (Demokratie-Wegweiser): constructing a map of government officials so that people can easily identify who is responsible for what and who they should reach out to.

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A group of people take part in a citizens' assembly on Artificial Intelligence organised by the Belgian Presidency of the European Council.

How Belgium is Giving Citizens a Say on AI

Within the scope of its ongoing Presidency of the European Council, Belgium has convened a citizens’ assembly on AI, with the aim of giving a representative group of citizens a say. The organisers hope it will be just one of many such ventures in future.

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Emmanuel Macron speaks at a gathering of around 600 mayors gathered to relay their constituents' grievances as part of the Grand Debate.

The Lost Contributions to France’s Great Debate

In the early days of the yellow vest movement, a series of notebooks were placed in town halls around France for residents to share their thoughts on the future of France. The story of the so-called "lists of grievances" contains some important lessons for the future of democratic innovations.

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Adéla Ambrožová, Project Coordinator at the City of Říčany

Change It! Youth Participation in the Czech Republic

Change It! is Říčany's inaugural youth participatory budgeting project, involving youths aged 12 to 25 in city decision-making to foster their interest in public affairs.

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Iwan Ittermann

Pluralism: A Platform for Arguing Respectfully

Pluralism provides a model for a new kind of online interaction, which rewards good-faith dialogue instead of provocation and hate.

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Dominik Hierlemann

“Citizens’ Assemblies Shouldn’t Happen in a Vacuum”

How should our society best handle disinformation? In late January, the Bertelsmann Stiftung launched a citizens’ assembly with partners such as the German Ministry of the Interior to grapple with this question. Dominik Hierlemann of the Bertelsmann Stiftung discusses the project.

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Meta's logo appears on the screen of a smartphone against a blue background. The letters "AI" appear in large print on the background.

Meta Experiments With Public Consultation on AI

In October 2023, Meta hosted a “Community Forum on Generative AI.” The online event gave randomly selected members of the public the chance to share their views on the principles governing the use of AI chatbots. It is one of the first cases of a private company using established deliberative democracy methods to consult the public, raising key questions about accountability. Democracy Technologies was invited to observe the event.

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Saffron Huang of the Collective Intelligence Project attends the UK's AI Safety Summit in Bletchley Park, UK.

Can Alignment Assemblies Bring Democracy to Silicon Valley?

Last year, a series of AI developers began experimenting with new democratic ways of shaping the future of the technology. Among the most prominent were the Alignment Assemblies, run by the Collective Intelligence Project. Their work with Anthropic and OpenAI demonstrates the potential of public involvement in AI, while also raising questions about the place of these processes within the broader picture of the regulation of the field.

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Marchers at the 2022 Pride Parade (Parada Ponosa) in Ljubljana, Slovenia.

Young and Online: Can Internet Forums Bring Politics Closer to LGBTIQ+ Youth?

“Young Queer people approach politics differently than the average voter, both in terms of being Queer as well as being young,” explains Rene Koradin from the organisation DIH (Slovenian for “BREATH”). “But as anywhere, there are many different intersecting identities at play among Queer youth. That’s why we believe that facilitating an open debate is […]

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Australian MP Dr. Andrew Leigh takes a question from one of his constituents at the "Connecting to Parliament" event on 20 September, 2020 in Canberra, Australia.

Connecting to Parliament: Deliberating with Politicians

Citizens’ assemblies are enjoying a moment in the spotlight – but they often cut elected officials out of the picture altogether. Several less well-known formats worldwide apply similar methods with the aim of getting representatives and voters to talk to one another. Among them is Australia’s “Connecting to Parliament”.

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Rayén-Jara-Mitrovich, co-founder of Radical Data.

Radical Data: Art, Activism, & Technology

Rayén Jara Mitrovich is a co-founder of Radical Data, a collective that uses data and builds tools to empower communities and help shape alternative futures. We caught up with them to talk about AI biases, Chile's failed new constitution, and the intersection between art, activism, and technology.

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