Application: "Pocket Democracy" Workshops

Goethe Pop Up
Chophouse Row
1424 11th Ave STE 101
Seattle, WA 98122

“Pocket Democracy“ begins with day-long workshops to explore current developments in the field of digital democracy and to work on solutions for new forms of political engagement.

The goal of the project is to bring together activists, scientists, entrepreneurs and politicians from Germany and the US to work out some potentials of political solutions that are supported by technology.

There is limited capacity for interested individuals to join the workshops on October 24 ahead of the public conference on October 25. The workshops are divided into three tracks:

I: Data Manipulation and Authentication
II: Party Politics and Digital Opposition
III: Cybersecurity and Democratic Elections

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Tell us your background and why you are interested in participating in "Pocket Democracy" (100 words) *
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Which track are you interested in? *
Besides the workshops, do you intend to participate...
Workshop Tracks
Calculated misinformation, manipulated pictures and videos pose the question: How can the potential for political damage caused by digital communication be limited? But artificial intelligence does not only offer opportunities for manipulation but can also be used to verify and authenticate facts. Apps merge results from fact checking site and make suspicious, manipulated content visible to users. Meanwhile it is important to determine relevant criteria that can be reliably satisfied by and monitored through algorithms.

Questions for the workshop are:
What are recent developments regarding the manipulation of data and media content?
How can manipulated content be detected through intelligent digital technology?
What are new ways to highlight and promote trustworthy information?

Political parties mobilize voters, and offer a platform for deliberation, aggregating and articulating preferences of their members. They are often deemed essential for democratic systems, but this position is not unchallenged. New movements resort to new ways of organizing, rallying around new topics and using new (online) tools and techniques to garner support. In some cases, individual politicians implement digital tools for strengthening their position within party structures and may use this dynamic for creating their own personalized platform. Concepts like liquid democracy and liquid feedback as well as tiny forms of participation offer alternatives to established forms of intraparty decision making. This challenges the overall layout of representative political institutions, advancing renewed calls for direct democracy. Parties did react and incorporate electronic platforms to mobilize and include their members into decision-making or extend their presence on third-party platforms. Do they reinvent themselves integrating new technologies or do they became obsolete as dinosaurs of a pre-digital era?

Questions for the workshop are:
What are positive examples of digital outlets being used for political activism and criticism?
How do you bridge the gap between temporarily used tiny forms of participation and a continuous political/civic engagement?
How could a “digital media opposition” promote democracy instead of unsettling it?

What applications are being used to track disinformation, and what kind of solutions still need to be developed to increase accountability in the political sphere? This workshop will give an overview of the threats faced by the US and Germany/the EU during recent elections coming from both cybersecurity attacks on infrastructure as well as disinformation campaigns targeted at specific groups and profiles of voters. It will inform students about what online, technical and political solutions are being used to prevent such interventions, and encourage students to come up with solutions to cybersecurity and information vulnerabilities that remain.

Questions for the workshop are:
How can new technologies help to make elections more transparent, efficient and engaging?
What are major digital threats for democratic elections? 
What is the potential of blockchain or similar technology to protect democratic elections?
What are best practices on both sides of the Atlantic?
Thank you!
Due to limited capacity we will review prospective participants prior to their invitation. We will attempt to accommodate everyone in their preferred track.
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