Montesquieu Institute: from science to society

Europe lecture 2018: use IT to engage society, but in the right way

Friday, September 14 2018, 13:31

DEN HAAG (PDC) - The use of digital technologies by governments may lead to more efficiency, but can also be used to further engage society in politics. This was the message IT-visionary Linnar Viik shared during the Montesquieu Europe-lecture 2018 which took place in The Hague. Professor Mireille Hildebrandt, specialist in the field of IT and the rule of law, described the practice of targeting individual preferences based on behavioural data, and explained how this process should be managed.

Both speakers made clear that there is always a tension between opportunities and threats. The use of digital technologies can make processes more efficient, as it does in online voting. However, it may also cause fragmentation of the public debate, because people only get to see things that match their individual preferences.

According to Viik, it is important that governments apply digital technologies in such a way that society becomes closer engaged in politics. Hildebrandt emphasized that it is very important to always ask which problems are and are not solved, and which problems are created by using digital technologies.

The Europe-lecture was moderated by professor Rens Vliegenthart and organised by the Montesquieu Institute in cooperation with the Stichting Europalezing and the Prinsjesfestival. A more detailed account of the lecture, including photo's, can be found on this page.