IGF 2022 Day 3 Lightning Talk #78 It's Not all Doom and Gloom: The Future of Democracy, Markets, and Technology Can be Positive

The following are the outputs of the captioning taken during an IGF intervention. Although it is largely accurate, in some cases it may be incomplete or inaccurate due to inaudible passages or transcription errors. It is posted as an aid, but should not be treated as an authoritative record.



>> So more so people from other countries. We asked respondents which application would be most beneficial for democracy in the future. 65 said encryption. That is the third line of the chart that you see. So this is one of the biggest tools that democratic performers use to operate. We know that in most cases, encryption is really challenging because corporations create and control encrypted technologies. And governments are often advocating for exemptions. If there's one thing that fight to protect, respondents argue it should be encryption and encrypted communications. This doesn't just mean messaging apps, by the way. We ask about different types of encryptions. Secure platforms for online vote and going other such activities where encryption is necessary.

So here, I just wanted to show you all that we can see a great deal of agreement across the globe on these applications of technology to advanced democracy. Besides encrypted communications, respondents want enabling digital environment for protected mobilization and want to leverage technology to crowd source ideas as well. Those were some of the other top responses that came in. When we asked what would be most helpful to bridge the gap between technological innovation and people's understanding of technology, there's a wide consensus on the importance of education. So you can see in the top couple of responses, different types of education were highly valued whether it's reskilling or retraining for workers, teaching technologies in schools, teaching to policy makers. But note the outlier at the bottom. Respondents don't think it would be particularly helpful to have Stakeholder consultations and public private dialogues to provide input on global norms and standards. That's kind of surprising.

When we look at it by region, we can see respondents in North America and Europe are the ones that find it the least useful to have consultations. This is troubling because it's quite common in Europe and North America. Many well-established mechanisms. Highly digitalized societies and they have channels and citizens have different avenues to comment on tech regulations should they wish to. We should ask ourselves what is it working for people?

We're giving people the opportunity to comment on tech regulations but clearly giving them an opportunity to participate is not enough. And we just thought that this was a very interesting finding that could help inform the way that we think about programming in the future, priorities in our organizations in the future. Clearly this survey shows education is much more helpful than Stakeholder consultations. Another question that we ask that yielded similar responses to the previous one that I just talked about is what are effective ways to shape global norms and standards that strengthen trust in future applications of technology?

So gave them all of these choices. And, again, education, digital education training for decision makers came in first at 59%. And, again, engagement at the international level isn't necessarily something that citizens value. So it's only 39%. That's the fourth row down.

At a recent OECD public governance meeting on building trust and reinforcing democracy, we learned when citizens keep providing feedback and providing input as Stakeholders but it doesn't get incorporated, naturally it erodes trust in global norms and standards. And so we are obviously all at this conference. And it's a conference that's heavily focused on shaping global norms and standards and technology. This data tells us that it's not enough and it isn't necessarily the most valuable way to strengthen trust.

This slide is very telling. I just wanted to draw your attention to it. In previous questions, we saw high levels of consensus with the numbers at like 90% across the board. But the biggest take away from this particular data is that there is no consensus on how to strengthen trust around the world. So if there's one call to action from this data, let's take this as a call to action. There's no consensus on how to strengthen trust and it's our job to find out how to improve that. I'm winding up here. What I want to do is leave you -- attempt to leave you with some solutions. And for that, I'll turn it over to my colleague Sarah from NDI in a moment. We asked respondents in our survey what organizations or individuals give you hope for a future of democracy that is improved through technology?

And how have they used technology to positively enable democracy? Why do they inspire you?

A lot of respondents pointed to tools that NDI developed over the years. And they said these tools that NDI provided inspire them for positive future of democracy enabled by technology. So let me ask Sarah to come up here and talk a little bit about some of these tools you might find helpful in your work.

>> SARAH:  Hi, everyone. I'll keep it brief. I did just want to talk a little bit about what we at national democratic institute, how we have perceived this and how important for us transparency is and working with governments and citizens, lawmakers to really increase the transparency of interactions between them, government services and how do we help encourage that?

And one of our key initiatives has been something called Dem tools. It's dem.tools. On that web site, we curate a list of citizens, governments, anyone interested in strengthening the process could use in their own work whether that's data collection or visualization. Kind of engagement through apps with governments. We try to do, list partners. We have our own variations we use including one for content management system. Customer relationship called Sivi which we use with different governments and help them manage their contacts free of charge. One of the biggest problems we found is the cost. A lot of governments are not transparent with initiatives. How they make decisions. We're trying to ensure that process and make it as simple as possible to do that. And looking in the future, really the area we want to look at is the digital public goods.

And we're starting to see more of this work integrated within governments. This is part of the sustainable development goals. Opening the transparency of government processes. Improving interoperability. Having open data and open models for how they do work. And so that may be developing open-source software. Trying to create a culture of sustainability around that. But also encourages collaboration across governments and helps take away proprietary systems that individuals are used to doing. Bless you.

Takes the cost for doing that. Encourages local ownership. Fosters innovation. So this is an area we're trying to promote in the work we're doing is how can we better collaborate with governments, civil society lawmakers to put the systems into place, be transparent and encourage this innovation and collaboration. I know we're at time. I would encourage you to take a look at our web site:  Dem.tools. If you have suggestions for tools that you have used for promoting that, this is something we encourage everyone to put in for us. We like to write about them and share them. We're always learning as well. We're hoping that contributes to this transparency and a positive vision that comes out of this. Thanks.

>> Thank you so much. I'd love to take any questions if there's any online or from the audience. Otherwise, we'll be around. Feel free to come and talk with us. And we can tell you a lot more about the survey and about different civic and democratic tools that they have developed over the years. Thank you.