This piece was originally published in Tech Policy Press.
Today, the futures of both democracy and the internet lie at crossroads. These futures are intertwined in complex and critical ways, with each threatened from within, and by one another. While debates over the extent of the internet’s contributions to democracy’s degradation will continue for many years to come, this piece seeks to look beyond this concern to examine where we might be going, and to argue for a new direction.
This is the fourth in a series of pieces that consider (1) the democratic nature of the internet and (2) the internet’s deep impact on democracy itself.
The overall agenda behind this series is to theorize and advocate for the creation of a new architecture: a market-based ecosystem of delegated intermediaries that operate in between end users and the services and platforms of social media, as well as the broader information ecosystem. The motivation is that in governance and society – and in the shaping of tools to support both – a broadly democratic collective intelligence is essential to dealing with diverse needs and values in an environment of increasingly dynamic stressors and existential threats.