University of Cambridge > > Giving Voice to Digital Democracies

Giving Voice to Digital Democracies

Add to your list(s) Send you e-mail reminders Further detail
Subscribe using ical/vcal (Help)

Giving Voice to Digital Democracies: The Social Impact of Artificially Intelligent Communications Technology

‘Hey Siri, how should I vote in the next national election?’

Using manifesto promises and gathered data, Siri (or Cortana, or Alexa, or any other virtual assistant) could determine which party championed her owner’s core socio-political and economic values – or she could name the party offering the most enticing tax breaks to the corporation that created her. And if her response was based on an ethically dubious pre-programmed agenda, who would know?

Automated conversational agents are prototypical examples of Artificially Intelligent Communications Technology (AICT), and such systems make extensive use of speech technology, natural language processing, smart telecommunications, and social media. AICT is already rapidly transforming modern digital democracies by enabling unprecedentedly swift and diffuse language-based interactions. Therefore it offers alarming opportunities for distortion and deception. Unbalanced data sets can covertly reinforce problematical social biases, while microtargeted messaging and the distribution of malinformation can be used for malicious purposes.

Responding to these urgent concerns, this Humanities-led project brings together experts from linguistics, philosophy, speech technology, computer science, psychology, sociology, and political theory to develop design objectives that can guide the creation of more ethical and trustworthy AICT systems. Such systems will have the potential to effect more positively the kinds of social change that will shape modern digital democracies in the very near future.

To this end, the various activities undertaken as part of this project explore several key ethical and social issues relating to AICT , and these events are designed to establish a dialogue involving academia, industry, government, and the public. The central research questions that provide a primary focus for the interactions include: What form should an applied ethics of AICT take? To what extent can social biases be removed from AICT ? How can the dangers of dis/mis/malinformation in AICT applications be reduced most effectively? How can ethical AICT have a greater positive impact on social change?

More information here:

Tell a friend about this list:

If you have a question about this list, please contact: Dr Stefanie Ullmann. If you have a question about a specific talk, click on that talk to find its organiser.

0 upcoming talks and 3 talks in the archive.

Global perspectives on teaching AI ethics

Please register:

UserSpeaker to be confirmed.

House Room SG1, Alison Richard Building, 7 West Road, Cambridge, CB3 9DT.

ClockThursday 30 March 2023, 14:00-18:00

Children and artificial intelligence: risks, opportunities and the future

UserSpeaker to be confirmed.


ClockMonday 25 April 2022, 13:30-17:15

Understanding and Automating Counterspeech

Please register online:

UserSee in description.


ClockWednesday 29 September 2021, 11:00-19:00

Please see above for contact details for this list.


© 2006-2024, University of Cambridge. Contact Us | Help and Documentation | Privacy and Publicity