Events | Conference: Pocket Democracy

Seattle and Berlin | October 25, 2019

“Pocket Democracy” is a two day workshop and conference between Berlin and Seattle to investigate how digital technologies can be used for alternative political solutions.

Since their introduction roughly twelve years ago, smartphones have fundamentally altered the political and media landscape. Mobile devices have penetrated almost all fields of life. At the same time, false information, manipulated images and videos, as well as new surveillance practices are posing the question how political dangers of communication technologies might be hedged in the future.

The project “Pocket Democracy“ wants to focus on ideas and agents who see the dangers but who also investigate how digital technologies can be used for alternative political solutions. These concern algorithms that recognize false information or manipulated images and videos, that make visible discriminatory malpractice or that digitally enable free and secret elections. “Pocket Democracy“ begins with a day-long workshop to explore current developments in the field of digital democracy and to work on solutions for new forms of political engagement.

 

Opal Tometi | www.opaltometi.org

Keynote: Opal Tometi (co-founder Black Lives Matter, executive director Black Alliance for Just Immigration)

Participants: Armen Avanessian (Thomas Mann Fellow), Lance Bennett (University of Washington), Jessica L. Beyer (University of Washington), Christoph Bieber (University of Duisburg-Essen), Damian Borth (Thomas Mann Fellow / University of St. Gallen), Toby Crittenden, Paulina Fröhlich (Das Progressive Zentrum / Berlin), Adriana Groh (Prototype Fund / Berlin), Philipp Hübl (Philosopher / Berlin), Sarah Lohmann (Johns Hopkins University), Alexander Peterhaensel (Berlin University of the Arts / Berlin), Ramesh Srinivasan (UCLA), Alexander Sängerlaub (Stiftung Neue Verantwortung / Berlin), Max Senges (Google / Berlin), Niko Switek (University of Washington), Kristina Weissenbach (University of Washington / University Duisburg-Essen), Mellina White-Cusack (Blogger), et al.

SEATTLE | THURSDAY, OCT 24 - WORKSHOP
 
WORKSHOP TRACKS
 

I. PARTY POLITICS AND DIGITAL OPPOSITION
Political parties mobilize voters, and offer a platform for deliberation, aggregating and articulating preferences of their members. They are often deemed essential for democratic systems, but this position is not unchallenged. New movements resort to new ways of organizing, rallying around new topics and using new (online) tools and techniques to garner support. In some cases, individual politicians implement digital tools for strengthening their position within party structures and may use this dynamic for creating their own personalized platform. Concepts like liquid democracy and liquid feedback as well as tiny forms of participation offer alternatives to established forms of intraparty decision making. This challenges the overall layout of representative political institutions, advancing renewed calls for direct democracy. Parties did react and incorporate electronic platforms to mobilize and include their members into decision-making or extend their presence on third-party platforms. Do they reinvent themselves integrating new technologies or do they became obsolete as dinosaurs of a pre-digital era?

II. CYBERSECURITY AND DEMOCRATIC ELECTIONS
What applications are being used to track disinformation, and what kind of solutions still need to be developed to increase accountability in the political sphere? This workshop will give an overview of the threats faced by the US and Germany/the EU during recent elections coming from both cybersecurity attacks on infrastructure as well as disinformation campaigns targeted at specific groups and profiles of voters. It will inform students about what online, technical and political solutions are being used to prevent such interventions, and encourage students to come up with solutions to cybersecurity and information vulnerabilities that remain.

 

9:30 am

Introductory Remarks

10:00 am

Workshops Round I

Track I: PARTY POLITICS AND DIGITAL OPPOSITION
with Niko Switek (University of Washington) Christoph Bieber (University Duisburg-Essen) and Kristina Weissenbach (University of Washington / University Duisburg-Essen)

Track II: CYBERSECURITY AND DEMOCRATIC ELECTIONS
with Jessica L. Beyer (University of Washington) and Sarah Lohmann (Johns Hopkins University)

11:30 am
Coffee Break

11:45 am

Workshops Round II

Track I: PARTY POLITICS AND DIGITAL OPPOSITION
with Niko Switek (University of Washington) Christoph Bieber (University Duisburg-Essen) and Kristina Weissenbach (University of Washington / University Duisburg-Essen)

Track II: CYBERSECURITY AND DEMOCRATIC ELECTIONS
with Jessica L. Beyer (University of Washington) and Sarah Lohmann (Johns Hopkins University)

1:00 pm
Lunch

2:00 - 3:00 pm

Wrap up

 

Goethe Pop Up, Chophouse Row, 1424 11th Ave STE 101, Seattle, WA 98122

SEATTLE | THURSDAY, OCT 24 - EVENING EVENT

 

EVENING EVENT

6:00 pm

Ramesh Srinivasan (UCLA): Beyond the Valley
Moderation: Mellina White-Cusack

In his new, provocative book Beyond the Valley, Ramesh Srinivasan describes the internet as both an enabler of frictionless efficiency and a dirty tangle of politics, economics, and other inefficient, inharmonious human activities. Srinivasan focuses on the disconnection he sees between designers and users, producers and consumers, and tech elites and the rest of us. The recent Cambridge Analytica and Russian misinformation scandals exemplify the imbalance of a digital world that puts profits before inclusivity and democracy.

In search of a more democratic internet, Srinivasan takes us to the mountains of Oaxaca, East and West Africa, China, Scandinavia, North America, and elsewhere, visiting the “design labs” of rural, low-income, and indigenous people around the world. He talks to a range of high-profile public figures—including Elizabeth Warren, David Axelrod, Eric Holder, Noam Chomsky, Lawrence Lessig, and the founders of Reddit, as well as community organizers, labor leaders, and human rights activists.

To make a better internet, Srinivasan says, we need a new ethic of diversity, openness, and inclusivity, empowering those now excluded from decisions about how technologies are designed, who profits from them, and who are surveilled and exploited by them.

7:00 pm Drinks and get together

The Cloud Room, 1424 11th Ave, Seattle, WA 98122

SEATTLE | FRIDAY, OCT 25 - CONFERENCE

 

9:00 am

Introductory remarks

9:05 am

Keynote (video stream to Berlin)

Opal Tometi (Co-founder Black Lives Matter)

Moderation: Armen Avanessian (Thomas Mann Fellow)

10:15 am

Session I: Digital Media and New Forms of Political Activism  

(Video stream to Berlin)

Lance Bennett (University of Washington)
Alexander Sängerlaub (Stiftung Neue Verantwortung, live video)
Adriana Groh (Open Knowledge Foundation)

Moderation: Toby Crittenden

11:30 am

Coffee Break

11:45 am

Session II: Cybersecurity and Democratic Elections

Jessica L. Beyer (University of Washington)
Christoph Bieber (University Duisburg-Essen)
Damian Borth (University of St. Gallen, Thomas Mann Fellow, live video)

Moderation: Niko Switek (University of Washington)

1:00 pm End

The Seattle Public Library, Central Library, Microsoft Auditorium

BERLIN | FRIDAY, OCT 25 - WORKSHOP

 

8:30 am

Registration: DISINFORMATION

9:00 am

Workshop

11:30 am

Registration: PARTY POLITICS AND DIGITAL OPPOSITION

12:00 noon

Workshop
2:30 pm

Registration: DEMOCRATIC ELECTIONS
3:00 pm

Workshop


Wrap-up

State Studio, Hauptstraße 3, 10827 Berlin

BERLIN | FRIDAY, OCT 25 - EVENING EVENT
6:05 pm

Keynote Lecture via live stream from Seattle: Opal Tometi (Co-founder Black Lives Matter)

Q&A

7:00 pm Short intermission
7:15 pm Panel discussion via live stream
8:30 pm
Drinks and get-together

State Studio, Hauptstraße 3, 10827 Berlin


For participants in Seattle

Location
Oct 24 | Workshops | Goethe Pop Up, Chophouse Row, 1424 11th Ave STE 101, Seattle, WA 98122
Register for the workshops.

Oct 24 | Evening | The Cloud Room, 1424 11th Ave, Seattle, WA 98122
Register for the evening event.

Oct 25 | Conference | The Seattle Public Library, Central Library, Microsoft Auditorium, Seattle, WA 98122
Register for the conference.

 


For participants in Berlin

Location
Oct 25 | Workshops and evening event | State Studio, Hauptstraße 3, 10827 Berlin
Register for the workshops.


An event in cooperation with

           

 


A part of "Wunderbar Together: Germany and the U.S."

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