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Looking Ahead: Enhanced Democracy by 2030 Through Digital Innovation

10/29 Thursday | 5pm

Join the Future of Democracy Working Group for a conversation with Lee Rainie, Director, Internet Technology and Research, Pew Research Center on October 29, 2020 at 5 pm.

What will be the impact of technology on democracy? Will the Internet usher in a halcyon era of participatory democracy? Or will social media eviscerate deliberative discourse and social cohesion? Will social media be the death or the lifeblood of politics? What are Americans doing and thinking about the current moment amid the coronavirus outbreak, calls for racial justice and campaigning in the presidential election? This year Pew Research Center surveyed 697 experts, including technology innovators, developers, business and policy leaders, researchers and activists, asking them if they believe significant social and civic innovation will occur between now and 2030. An overwhelming majority (84%) said yes. Despite this optimism, however, experts were less sanguine about the impact of tech companies on our privacy and our politics. On October 29 at 5 pm come hear Lee Rainie, co-author of the report and one of the nation’s leading survey researchers, discuss the implications of the report and some of the latest findings from the Center. He will provide a tour d’horizon of this in-depth expert prognostication about the impact of the Internet on democracy. Rainie will discuss the devices, the developments, the innovations, growing optimism over new opportunities for citizen engagement, and activism as well as the looming risks.

Lee Rainie is the director of internet and technology research at Pew Research Center. Under his leadership, the Center has issued more than 750 reports based on its surveys that examine people’s online activities and the internet’s role in their lives. The American Sociological Association gave Rainie its award for “excellence in the reporting on social issues” in 2014 and described his work as the “most authoritative source of reliable data on the use and impact of the internet and mobile connectivity.” Rainie is a co-author of Networked: The new social operating system and five books about the future of the internet that are drawn from the Center’s research. 

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