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Modern democracy was created in an analogue era, well before the fourth industrial revolution and today’s ubiquitous use of digital devices. So how is democracy today being affected by new digital technologies? And is it for better, or for worse?

In the aftermath of the Cambridge Analytica scandal and the hacking of the US presidential elections in 2016, it is easy to see why many individuals see technology as a threat to both the concept of democracy and democratic process. There’s a growing concern that, with the increase of filter bubbles, the 24-hours news cycle, disinformation and trolls, many citizens are unaware of how digital technologies can influence their decision-making, whether it’s shopping or voting.

Optimists take a different view. Despite tech disrupting democracy as we know and understand it currently, it’s possible that technology may also be part of the solution. From digitally-enabled participatory budgeting to experiments in crowdlaw, lessons have shown us that there's massive potential for technology to help us stem the tide of disenchantment in our politics. At the same time there are still major barriers to overcome, including resistance from institutions and uncertainty about the risks.

This event will focus on the opportunities and challenges for spreading digital democracy. How can tech be an enabler for a healthier politics, and what policy areas or institutions might offer the most fruitful testing grounds for these initiatives?

The host of the evening will be Jim Bligh, Director of Corporate Affairs for the UK and Ireland, TCS.

Registration will open at 18:00 with the event starting promptly at 18:30. The session will finish at 20:00 with the opportunity to continue the conversation and learn what your peers might be doing in this space until 21:00.

The Spark Salon, an initiative of Tata Consultancy Services, showcases innovative and thought provoking new perspectives on the role of technology in helping to create a sustainable world. Building on the concept of the 17th century salon, the aim of these gatherings is to help inspire and foster conversations and the sharing of new ideas.