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CASBS Symposium: "The Consequences of Technological Developments for Politics and Government" with Carrie Cihak and Nate Persily

Event Details:

Tuesday, April 24, 2018
5:00pm - 6:00pm PDT
Cihak, Persily

Reception at 5:00pm. Talk from 5:30pm - 6:45pm.

Carrie Cihak


Chief of Policy, Office of King County (Seattle, Washington)

Executive Dow Constantine

Nate Persily


James B. McClatchy Professor of Law

Stanford University

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.” Read about and view a video of that event here.
The second symposium, held in March 2018, involved “The Effects of Technology on Human Interactions.” View the event video here.
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 will 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 will stimulate a thought-provoking discussion between the panelists and with the audience.

CASBS will broadcast this event via online livestream. The stream will go live once the talk begins at 5:30pm.

Please scroll down on our homepage – – to view the live-stream.

As Chief of Policy for King County Executive Dow Constantine, the highest ranking elected official of King County, WA, the 13th largest county in the United States, Carrie S. Cihak is responsible for identifying the highest priority policy areas and community outcomes for leadership focus and for developing and launching innovative solutions to issues that are complex, controversial and cross-sectoral. She is an architect of some of the county’s key initiatives, such as Best Starts for Kids as well as nationally-recognized work on equity and social justice. Prior to her work in Constantine’s administration, Cihak served for eight years as a senior-level analyst for the King County Council and as lead staff for the King County Board of Health. She also served as a staff economist on international trade and finance for President Clinton's Council of Economic Advisers. As a Policy Fellow during the 2017-18 academic year, Cihak is leading projects at CASBS and in King County that advance meaningful collaboration between academic researchers and governments. She is spearheading efforts in King County on evidence-informed decision making and is co-director of CASBS’s Impact Evaluation Design Lab, launched in March 2018. She is also using time at CASBS to explore the science and evidence-base of belonging, while working back home to help launch a cross-sector partnership called “You Belong Here,” which seeks to build civic muscle and inclusive growth in the Seattle region.

Nate Persily is the James B. McClatchy Professor of Law at Stanford Law School, with appointments in the departments of political science, communication and the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies. Prior to joining Stanford, Persily taught at Columbia University and the University of Pennsylvania Law School, and as a visiting professor at Harvard, NYU, Princeton, the University of Amsterdam, and the University of Melbourne. His scholarship and legal practice focus on American election law or what is sometimes called the “law of democracy,” which addresses issues such as voting rights, political parties, campaign finance, redistricting, and election administration. He has served as a special master or court-appointed expert to craft congressional or legislative districting plans for Georgia, Maryland, Connecticut, New York and, most recently, North Carolina. He also served as the Senior Research Director for the Presidential Commission on Election Administration. In addition to numerous articles (many cited by the Supreme Court) on the legal regulation of political parties, issues surrounding the census and redistricting process, voting rights, and campaign finance reform, Persily is coauthor of an election law casebook, The Law of Democracy. As a fellow at CASBS supported by the Annenberg Foundation, he is examining the impact of changing technology on political communication, campaigns, and election administration. In 2016, he received an Andrew Carnegie Fellowship to pursue this work. Persily also co-directs the Stanford Project on Democracy and the Internet.

*There will be valet parking at the event.

Event Sponsor: 
Co-sponsored with the Stanford Cyber Initiative

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