Research page

Timeline: 2022-24

Keywords: Democracy; Citizen participation; Youth; Digital technologies;  Artificial Intelligence; AI; Narrative foresight; Storytelling; Art; Scientific communication; Switzerland. 

Funding Organisation: Swiss National Science Foundation, AGORA project n. CRAGP1_208333


This project focuses on active citizenship and political participation in the digital age. With the development of new technologies and new forms of media, existing models of democratic participation are being challenged and reshaped. Online platforms and their machine learning algorithms have gradually become a popular space for social movements and citizen expression. Artificial intelligence (AI) mediates many forms of interaction between government and citizens (e.g., persuasion tactics during political campaigns, processing millions of comments during citizen consultation). Governments also adopt AI to process large amounts of data for public health purposes (e.g., during the Covid-19 pandemic), to gain access to information that would otherwise be difficult to obtain (e.g., opinion mining to identify needs not yet addressed by a public administration), or to map and predict risks (e.g., predicts burglaries in Zurich) among others. But AI not only presents opportunities: it also raises many concerns, including black box phenomenon; data and algorithm bias; technical or adversarial vulnerabilities. 

Taking stock of the centrality of this technology in society and in the citizen-government relation, our project ambitions to raise awareness and literacy among citizens of the current use of AI in a liberal democracy, and give a voice to the citizens of tomorrow. We will give youth in Switzerland an opportunity to consider AI's future role through a creative and innovative participatory approach: narrative foresight and storytelling. We will also collaborate with art schools to design participatory AI art.