Northwestern University School of Law Panel on Democracy and Technology

This Friday, I will be taking part in a panel at the Northwestern University School of Law on the implications of accelerating technological development for democracy. The panel will be held from 3:30 to 5 PM in the Atrium. It will focus on Northwestern law professor John McGinnis’ forthcoming book Accelerating Democracy, in which John argues that the internet and other new technologies can greatly improve democratic decision-making by increasing the flow of information to policymakers and voters. Northwestern lawprof Robert Bennett and I will be commenting on the book. More details on the event (which is open to the public) here. The panel is part of a conference sponsored by the Northwestern Journal of Technology and Intellectual Property.

I think there is a lot to John’s thesis, but I also have some reservations based on my work on deliberative democracy and political ignorance. I will also suggest that the information revolution strengthens the political knowledge-based case for political decentralization and privatization that I outlined in this article.

John’s book is likely to become a major work in this field. The panel will be of interest to legal scholars, people interested in democratic theory, and of course technogeeks. I suspect that we have Chicago-based readers in all three categories. All are welcome!