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Democracy

THE DSI COMMUNITY DEMOCRACY

Digital technologies once promised to improve political engagement and policy-making, but enthusiasm for their democratizing potential now goes together with concerns that digital tools may be misused to manipulate public opinion, influence elections, and control citizens. What are the benefits and risks of digitization for democracy?

We tackle key challenges regarding the implications of digital technologies for democracy that are inherently interdisciplinary. In order to address them we bring together UZH researchers from different disciplines spanning the social sciences, computer science, law, and humanities. We disseminate our insights to researchers, stakeholders and the broader public and we aim to develop practical approaches for how to improve democracy through digital tools.

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Community facts

4

Projects

30

Members

THE DIGITAL SOCIETY INITIATIVE

What questions about digitization are on your mind? And how has your life changed with the digital transformation? Digitization is presenting society and science with new challenges. It is taking hold of a large part of our lives at an ever faster pace.

The Digital Society Initiative (DSI) was founded at the University of Zurich in 2016. The DSI supports scientists in their research and teaching on the digital transformation and is the competence center of the University of Zurich, where the impact of digitization is researched and bundled across all disciplines.
The Digital Society Initiative also aims to engage in dialogue with a broad public. The DSI at the University of Zurich wants to critically reflect on the digital transformation and look at it from different angles. This is not about technological novelties, but much more about ethical, legal, social and economic aspects that need to be discussed. It is about people and their role in our digitalized world.

DSI Community Democracy

The DSI Community Democracy brings together UZH researchers from different disciplines spanning the social sciences, computer science, law, and humanities. In our projects, we strive to shed light on the implications of digital technologies for democracy such as the impact of AI algorithms or the rise of hate speech on digital media channels, among other questions. We also actively disseminate our insights to researchers, stakeholders and the broader public and aim to develop practical approaches for how to improve democracy through digital tools.

The community represents one of the core thematic focus areas of the DSI and has grown substantially in recent years. It was first built around the Digital Democracy Lab that provides a central, efficient and scalable research infrastructure for research on the implications of digital technology for politics. The infrastructure remains a core component of the community but the scope of work and activities has substantially grown around a number of additional third-party funded Projects.

Our community activities include a new public panel discussion series featuring key stakeholders in the area of digitalization in Switzerland. Our guests together with experts from the community discuss current topics around the implication of digitalization for politics and democracy. This format is meant specifically for a broad, non-scientific audience and is open to the interested public. We also host bi-weekly research presentations on ongoing work in the community that is aimed at discussing ongoing projects and disseminating our insights to interested colleagues working on similar topics.

If you are interested in our upcoming events or updates on our current projects, please make sure to follow us on social media. And if you have any questions regarding the community or you are interested in joining the DSI Community Democracy, please fill out the contact form below and we will get in touch with you.

Discover some of our Projects

The DSI Community Democracy focuses on research on the effects of digitization on the political system, on democracy and related issues. Learn more about our projects.

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If you are interested in joining the DSI Community Democracy, please fill out this contact form and we will get back to you with more information.

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Keep up with our work and upcoming events.