Artificial Intelligence and Democracy

Hosted by the Department of Philosophy, Logic and Scientific Method

Online public event


Dr Etienne Brown

Dr Etienne Brown

Professor Jocelyn Maclure

Professor Jocelyn Maclure

Dr Zeynep Pamuk

Dr Zeynep Pamuk

Dr Annette Zimmermann

Dr Annette Zimmermann


Dr Thomas Ferretti

Dr Thomas Ferretti

Artificial intelligence (AI) creates opportunities to strengthen democracy and public debates but it also challenges existing democratic norms.

Public administrations increasingly use AI to automatize the allocation of public services. Judges use risk-assessment algorithms to determine a person’s eligibility for bail or parole. Social media platforms use AI to optimize content moderation, while political actors can use these platforms to engage in microtargeting and misinformation. And law enforcement agencies can use facial recognition systems and predictive analytics to strengthen surveillance. This new reality requires careful examination: Who should be responsible for selecting principles of AI governance? How can we align the decisions of AI systems with democratic values? Are “black box” algorithms undermining transparency and our capacity to exercise scrutiny over public decisions? Our panellists will reflect on these and related questions and engage with the audience.

Meet our speakers and chair

Etienne Brown (@Etienne_Brown) is an Assistant Professor of Philosophy at San José State University (USA). His research interests are in political philosophy, ethics, and the philosophy of technology, with a focus on the regulation of speech on social media and the ethics of online interaction. His recent publications include Free Speech and the Legal Prohibition of Fake News forthcoming in Social Theory & Practice.

Jocelyn Maclure is Professor of Philosophy and Stephen A. Jarislowsky Chair in Human Nature and Technology, at McGill University (Canada). His research interests are in political philosophy, ethics, and artificial intelligence. His recent publications include AI, Explainability and Public Reason: The Argument from the Limitations of the Human Mind in Minds and Machines. In addition to his academic roles, he has been President of the Québec Government’s Ethics Commission on Science and Technology.

Zeynep Pamuk is Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of California San Diego (USA). Her research interests lie at the intersection of political theory, the philosophy of science, and social epistemology. Her recent book, Politics and Expertise: How to Use Science in a Democratic Society, examines the relationship between science and democracy.

Annette Zimmermann is Lecturer in Philosophy at the University of York (UK) working on the ethics of artificial intelligence and machine learning. They are also a Technology & Human Rights Fellow at Harvard University. Their recent publications include Proceed with Caution, forthcoming in the Canadian Journal of Philosophy, investigating the use of algorithmic systems by public and private institutions in decision-making, and resulting challenges for procedural justice.

Thomas Ferretti is Guest Lecturer in Philosophy at the London School of Economics and Political Science working on topics that intersect with theories of justice and fairness, economic inequality, and the use of artificial intelligence in business organisations. His publications include An Institutionalist Approach to AI Ethics: Justifying the Priority of Government Regulation over Self-Regulation in Moral Philosophy and Politics.

More about this event

The Department of Philosophy, Logic and Scientific Method (@LSEPhilosophy) at LSE was founded by Professor Sir Karl Popper in 1946, and remains internationally renowned for a type of philosophy that is both continuous with the sciences and socially relevant.  

This event forms part of LSE’s Shaping the Post-COVID World initiative, a series imagining what the world could look like after the crisis, and how we get there.

You can find details about the LSE Ethics of AI Online Masterclass here.

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