Democracy and Tech

The Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics and the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy, Harvard University, are partnering to develop a white paper series on technology, democracy, and human rights. Over the coming months and years, the series will produce policy-oriented papers, co-authored by scholars and practitioners, about how technology is changing the pursuit of democratic renewal and the protection of human rights.

The series aims to flip the narrative around technology policy. Instead of exploring the impact of technology on democracy or human rights, the series will explore what the pursuit of democracy and the protection of human rights should mean for how we govern technology. Instead of treating technology as the actor, we treat technology as the product of human decisions, whether about how to design algorithms or build automated vehicles, how to develop gene editing programmes, or how to deploy artificial intelligence and biotechnologies within human institutions. Instead of exploring the implications of technology for democratic values and human rights, we will explore the implications of democratic values and human rights for how we build and use technology.

To better understand what it means to pursue democratic reform and protect human rights in the twenty-first century, we will interrogate the public policies and regulatory schemes at a federal, state, and local level that shape how technology is governed.

Please use the menu on the left to read the white papers in this series.