26th March: 12.00pm
Democracy at the Crossroads:
Going Digital or Going Extinct. With Dr. Roslyn Fuller.
Join this talk from one of Ireland’s most humorous and lively political thinkers to discuss everything from ancient history to blockchain in this robust defence of democracy for our times.
For over 10 years, Irish-Canadian author and former academic Dr. Roslyn Fuller has predicted the rise of digital democracy against, as British author Terry Pratchett may have put it, ‘the backdrop of a World Gone Mad’.
This talk will explore some of the ideas in her latest book In Defence of Democracy and bust some of the most commonly held myths circulating about democracy today. Do we truly live in filter bubbles? Is the Internet a lawless realm where anything goes? Does democracy mean something different than majority rule? Are people just too irrational for democracy to continue?
With academics, pundits and journalists from all sides of the political spectrum increasingly calling for the dismantling of democracy and an end to the principle of one-person, one-vote, the stakes to build a truly people-driven democracy have never been so high.
But people, so the pundits say, are too stupid, too uninformed, and too irrational to participate properly. In her latest book, In Defence of Democracy, Dr. Fuller takes on these common myths. She shows that not only are concerns about voter inadequacy highly exaggerated, but that we can create a more vibrant and fair democracy by harnessing technology in a constructive manner.
This talk will explore why we are seeing a war on the concept of democracy now; how digital technology truly affects democratic rights (for good and ill); how to separate the idea of democracy from the rule of law and use legal mechanisms to deal effectively with challenges to democratic rule; and why there is, despite everything, huge hope for democracy today.
With a background that spans ancient history to international law to blockchain, Roslyn is one of the most versatile and innovative political thinkers of her time. She is the author of five books, including Beasts and Gods: How Democracy Changed Its Meaning and Lost Its Purpose (a Hodges & Figgis bestseller) and In Defence of Democracy (a Next Generation Indie Book Award Finalist), as well as a contributor to such varied publications as The Los Angeles Review of Books, The Irish Times, Spiked, The Financial Times, The Nation, and the BBC. Often called ‘prescient’ in her analysis, Dr. Fuller advises governments and NGOs on digital democracy and speaks at conferences around the world.
“When your analysis points to an unpleasant future, seeing that come true is a double-edged sword. I predicted much of what is happening today: highly factionalised party politics, a meltdown of international norms, and an attack on the idea of democracy itself. This is because we are witnessing a battle of truly global scale between influential factions desperately fighting to maintain the status quo, and a growing, technology-enabled movement to return power to the people.”