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REVIEW: CAN TECHNOLOGY MAKE CAPITALISM MORE DEMOCRATIC

For last Friday’s Brainplay, we held a roundtable discussion dissecting whether the neo-liberal socio-economic structure we are presented with is the permanent one? Issues arising were whether through technology we could de-globalise removing the powers of centralised systems that once end up on a stock market start to erode social wellbeing and benefits for the end consumer. Is the tech advanced enough, and how can we mobilise and unionise to form consolidated groups? Or was the technology there to add transparency, as we’re experiencing now with the revelations of the heinous acts of Donald Trump surfacing over 10 years later and being transmitted around the world – the message would have been harder to get out 30 years ago and even harder to hit the extended web that it has today – is this the solution to build a better democracy?

With no direct ownership of the talk it was a chance for like minded people to air thoughts, share ideas on democracy in the 21st Century, and in our opinion exemplify the true value of THECUBE, knowledge transfer.

Below are some key points noted from the talk and at the base of this is a link to similar events.

How technology is used to create a better economy could be analogous to nuclear power. When it started it was used for very destructive reasons and now it is being transformed into a greener option for energy.

Technology can also give a false perception of democracy as in some cases it is building equally aggressive monopolies as we have seen with Uber, Google, WeWork, and Facebook If tech rules all, what rules tech?

Before we can create true democracy through technology, we must first trust each other as it will take a more collaborative mindset to create new systems.

We must also remember that democracy doesn’t automatically mean freedom, happiness or abundance of resources.

We also need to look at how technological advancements in science will change our view of democracy. For example, if we live longer as well as who will have access to these advancements.

A saturation of information is misleading and can be as demonstrative if unable to decipher information and be swayed by rhetoric. Dictators rise to power through rhetoric – could internet just media fuel this – do we need ethics committees reviewing how messages are spread?

Before we jump at technology being an answer do we need to define capitalism better? As our societies become more complex democracy is starting to mean completely different things to people – technology and the spread of information swung the Brexit vote in favour of leaving, people demonstrating their democratic vote and at the polar end a nearly equally large proportion of the country believing a more democratic society was one formed without borders and creating greater equality and access to market for all.

The financial structure of building the infrastructure for communication is broken and leading to a greater world divide between city dwellers and remote communities – this has led to the creation of a UN body called the ITU declaring “communications as a human right” – technology directly affecting the infrastructure of citizenship and identity.

ABOUT BRAINPLAY + THECUBE

THECUBE is a workspace in Shoreditch, East London with a focus on science, technology, and design. We were founded in 2009 and were one of the first coworking spaces in East London

Each month for the last 5 years we have been holding Brainplays, which is a space to create discourse, ask questions, and let your brain play.