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Policy making in a complex world: can technology restore trust in European decision-making?

Anti-establishment politics is on the rise as citizens vent theirdistrust of politicians and their increasing lack of confidence in the future. Traditional political parties are under pressure from insurgent polarising voices. Citizens’ views are increasingly framed not through the lens of mainstream media but the online filter bubble. And exposure to fake news and dismissal of expert knowledge fuels confusion and turmoil about decision-making.

Can technology provide an antidote to the sense of fatalism taking hold about the way politics operates and the capacity of politicians to take the decisions necessary to improve our lives?

  • If we need to better understand, engage and build the trust of the public, what are the new tools and technologies that can help us navigate our way?
  • Are we really on the verge of a new era of ‘anticipatory governance’ driven by algorithms, data and sentiment?
  • Or do the challenges posed by these new digital technologies pose long-term risks to the democratic process that outweigh their short-term value?
  • Will new technologies help bridge the information availability and accessibility gap, offering parliaments and governments genuine foresight capabilities?
  • Or will they simply introduce new problems of bias, objectivity, ownership and resource control?

We will be discussing these and related questions with parliamentarians, policy makers, academics and civil society at this one day event convened by partners of the EU-funded Sense4us project who are working on a new information discovery toolbox to support the development and scrutiny of policy and legislation. The toolbox – including new tools for text analysis, linked open data search, social media search and sentiment, and policy simulation -will be demonstrated at the event.

Speakers will include:

  • Cat Drew, Uscreates, former Policy Lab UK, Cabinet Office
  • Miriam Fernandez, Research Fellow, Knowledge Management Institute, Open University
  • Dr Ruth Fox, Director, Hansard Society
  • Steven Ginnis, Head of Digital Research at the Social Research Institute, Ipsos Mori
  • Andrea Halmos, Policy Officer, European Commission, DG CONNECT, eGovernment and Trust
  • Oktavía Hrund Jónsdóttir, Deputy MP, Icelandic Pirate Party
  • Somya Joshi, Director of Research, E-Gov Lab, University of Stockholm
  • Stefan Klauser, Project Leader “Digital Society”, Computational Social Science, COSS
  • Vasilis Koulolias, Director, Acting Head of Open Data Innovation, E-Gov Lab, University of Stockholm
  • Dr Aron Larsson, Researcher, E-Gov Lab, University of Stockholm
  • Frank Leyman, Manager of International Relations, FEDICT
  • Francisco García Morán, Chief IT Advisor, European Commission
  • Michael Psalidas, Managing Director, Crowdpolicy
  • Paul Walland, IT Innovation, Southampton University and Project Co-ordinator, Sense4us Project
  • Professor Maria Wimmer, Institute for Information Systems Research, University of Koblenz

During the event there will be an opportunity for delegates to explore the Sense4us information discovery toolbox. Sense4us is a technology research and development project, funded by the European Commission, which is developing tools for decision-makers to better find, organise, analyse and interpret information to support the development and scrutiny of policy and legislation in the future.

The Sense4us toolbox is in its infancy but it brings together tools that have the potential to help policy-makers and legislators to gain insights through open data, social media sentiment, text analysis and policy simulation. Innovations in these fields potentially offer new opportunities for Parliaments and Governments to engage and learn more about what really matters to the public, collect and analyse greater amounts of data more quickly than ever, find and reach out to stakeholders beyond the ‘usual suspects’, and evaluate policy options by simulating a range of potential outcomes through dynamic policy models.

Contact: Saffienne Vincent, Communications and Events Manager, Sense4us / Hansard Society

Email: [email protected]

Phone: +44 (0)20 7710 6081

Event link.


Sense4US Introduction link

Hansard Society https://www.hansardsociety.org.uk/ . Founded in 1944, we are a charity working in the UK and around the world to promote democracy and strengthen parliaments.

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