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P183


AI and the transformation of the democratic state 
Convenors:
Nikolaus Poechhacker (University of Klagenfurt)
Roger von Laufenberg (VICESSE Research GmbH - Vienna Centre for Societal Security)
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Format:
Traditional Open Panel

Short Abstract:

We aim to reflect how the democratic state is being transformed by the integration of AI in its institutions. Specifically, we are interested to discuss this on the level of (institutionalized) practices, including theoretical reflections, empirical cases, and practical or theoretical interventions.

Long Abstract:

Democracy may not survive the ongoing digital transformation. An ubiquitous surveillance regime combined with new forms of digital control will erode the necessary protection of citizens from the state. Further, algorithmic recommender systems are splintering the public sphere and making an informed, transparent, and open discourse impossible. At least that is a prominent narrative on the complex relationship of democracy and AI, which however, runs into conceptual issues: What does this mean on a level of practices? How are central institutions of democracy integrating, reacting, and enacting AI as a tool for and in democracy? Furthermore, democracy as a concept is and was always hard to pinpoint. In this panel, we aim to shift the perspective on the relation between AI and democracy, and reflect how the democratic state is being transformed by the ongoing integration of AI in its central institutions.

We thereby understand the democratic state as being enacted in everyday practices that connect a heterogeneous set of actors. These relations and their interdependencies are in question, when AI and machine learning techniques are being introduced. This includes all areas of the democratic state, like policing (Egbert & Leese), public administration and policy making (Winthereik), welfare regimes (Allhutter et al.), or the legal system (Hildebrandt) and addresses questions on how democracy is practically done (Birbak & Papazu), how machine learning is adapted to democratic values (Poechhacker) or how practically enacted rationalities of these institutions are changing. We want to reflect on the question, how the transformation of the democratic state is being made and done with and through AI by multiple actors.

We welcome all contributions that reflect on the relation between technological and institutional transformation within the digital democratic state, including theoretical reflections, empirical cases, and practical or theoretical interventions (including moments of resistance or theoretical subversion).

Accepted papers: