Political voice

People have voice in, and influence over, decisions that affect their lives.

A global overview

Democratic institutions, freedom of expression, freedom of association, and a free media all tend to support more inclusive, participatory and representative decision-making in public life. Half the world’s population, however, currently live in countries whose institutions fall significantly short on ensuring this.

A global perspective on political voice from the UN Sustainability Development goals

How is digital tech relevant to political voice?

Areas of tension

These are the issues, negative impacts and concerns collectively raised by the attendees from our pilot workshops.

For the digital tech workforce
  • Tech workers are often under the misconception that policitics and digital tech are decoupled, and as such do not realise the impact their design decisions have over people’s lives.
For the global population
  • Digital technology is used to accelerate the manipulation and polarisation of political views.
  • When digital technology is used to make voting processes more robust, it can in fact acheive the opposite as the tech is not always built by diverse teams who understand the ethics of a fair political process.
  • Algorithms are used to automate decisions that impact people’s lives such as insurance rates, access to government assistance which can be poorly programmed and based on skewed data and lead to unfair or biased decisions.
  • Big tech firms have the power and resources to ride rough-shod over local, democratic planning processes. Instead they appeal directly to national governments who are less in-tune with local needs, and more likely to approve large projects in the ‘national interest’.

How can we nudge these tensions for the better?

Grounds for hope

These are visions and ideas for change collectively raised by the attendees from our pilot workshops.

For the digital tech workforce

Employees recognize the power that they have.

Workers are shaping and driving technology activity in society.

You can live up to you full potential regardless of your gender, race, class, and be listened to.

For the global population

Tech companies are required to have critical processes to review the impacts of algorithms and give people more control and visibility of the algorithms they are subject to.

Algorithms reaching >1M users (or another suitable threshold) should be open sourced.

Allow secured and anonymous connection for everyone.

Keen to learn more?

If you’d like to explore these issues yourself, either as an individual or with your work colleagues, why not run your own workshop?

Our workshop methodology is open source and available for anyone to use for free. Alternatively you can hire trusted professionals to facilitate the process on your behalf.