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CASBS Symposium: The Consequences of Technological Developments for Politics and Government

The consequences of contemporary technological innovations for the lives and values of future generations are enormous. The wide range of expected – and unexpected – applications require rethinking governance arrangements, legal regimes, economic structures, and social relations. Exploration of such topics is the subject of the 2017-18 CASBS symposium series.

The first symposium, held in November 2017, focused on “AI, Automation, and Society.” The second symposium, held in March 2018, involved “The Effects of Technology on Human Interactions.” View both events on this channel or on the CASBS website ( 

In this final installment of the 2017-18 series, CASBS presents a conversation featuring two 2017-18 CASBS fellows – Stanford professor NATE PERSILY, an expert on law, democracy, and the internet; and CARRIE CIHAK, a senior policy expert and practitioner at one of the most innovative county governments in the U.S. They outline the challenges that recent technology-based advances pose to democracy, public policy, and governance systems. 

Social media platforms increasingly are viewed as vehicles for exploiting political discourse, rather than as democratizing forces. How should our institutions respond? Though modern technological innovations more easily connect people, what are the implications for issues of “digital equity,” government capacity, and regulatory frameworks? Though the positive impacts are substantial, how do we address the numerous negative impacts of the technology sector’s concentration in certain regional economies – including the San Francisco Bay Area and the greater Seattle area? These are just a few questions that stimulate a thought-provoking discussion between the panelists and with the audience.