GETTING-Plurality: The Future of Collaborative Technology and Democracy

Join the next GETTING-Plurality Research Workshop with Glen Weyl as he discusses Plurality: The Future of Collaborative Technology and Democracy, an open, git-based collaborative book project that aims to offer a vision for the future of technology focused around empowering and bridging social difference.

Online Event

12:00 pm – 1:15 pm EDT

You’re invited to the next GETTING-Plurality Research Workshop with Glen Weyl, founder and Research Lead of the Plural Technology Collaboratory (a Microsoft Research Special Project).

About the Speakers

Author: Glen Weyl founded and is Research Lead of thePlural Technology Collaboratory(aMicrosoft Research Special Project), founded and serves as Board Chair of the Plurality Institute, and founded and serves on the board of theRadicalxChange Foundation. He is also Senior Advisor to theGETTING-Plurality Research Networkat the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation. In the past, he led Web3 technical strategy at Microsoft’s Office of the Chief Technology Officers, served as Co-Chair and Technical Lead of theHarvard Edmond & Lily Safra Center Rapid Response Task Force on COVID-19 and taught economics at the University of Chicago, Princeton, and Yale.

Commentator: Professor Alex ‘Sandy’ Pentland directs MIT Connection Science, an MIT-wide initiative, and previously helped create and direct the MIT Media Lab and the Media Lab Asia in India. He is one of the most-cited computational scientists in the world, and Forbes declared him one of the “7 most powerful data scientists in the world” along with Google founders and the Chief Technical Officer of the United States. He is on the Board of the UN Foundations’ Global Partnership for Sustainable Development Data, co-led the World Economic Forum discussion in Davos that led to the EU privacy regulation GDPR, and was one of the UN Secretary General’s “Data Revolutionaries” helping to forge the transparency and accountability mechanisms in the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.  He has received numerous awards and prizes such as the McKinsey Award from Harvard Business Review, the 40th Anniversary of the Internet from DARPA, and the Brandeis Award for work in privacy. He is a member of advisory boards for the UN Secretary General, the UN Foundation, Consumers Union, and OECD, and formerly the American Bar Association, Google, AT&T, and Nissan. He is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering and council member within the World Economic Forum.


Plurality: The Future of Collaborative Technology and Democracy

Preface:The advent of the internet unfurled the world. Beginning in the 1960s, this new technology created unprecedented possibilities to tie distant communities together across space and time. Knowledge transcended borders, spreading instantaneously across languages and cultures. At the same time, globalization ushered in an era marked by increased disparities in wealth and social standing. The rapid evolution of digital technology fueled the rise of towering tech giants, which lured individuals into polarized enclaves. The internet is a powerful technology for tying people together in new collaborations across vast differences. Unfortunately, it has also recently proven to be a powerful tool for thwarting those collaborations and sowing new forms of division. It is no coincidence that democracy now finds itself at a low tide. Authoritarian regimes now command nearly half of the global GDP. Only a modest one billion people find solace under the umbrella of democratic systems, while over two billion dwell under authoritarian rule. Every culture, akin to a river, tells its own tale. We see the river of democracy as a conduit of hope. As its waters wane, we must replenish it. This book, a surging communal effort, is one attempt to restore the flow – and with it, hope. In Mandarin, 數位 means both “digital” and “plural.” To be plural is to be digital. To be digital is to be plural. Plurality captures the symbiotic relationship between democracy and collaborative technology. Together, democracy and collaborative technology can power infinite diversity in infinite combinations. Let’s free the future — together.

We will be discussing chapters3-0,4-0, and7-0.

Workshop series logistics

The GETTING-Plurality Research Workshop is a series convened by the Allen Lab for Democracy Renovation. In each session of the research workshop, we will discuss one paper focused on emerging technologies’ democratic potential or their governance. Our aim is to build a vibrant, cross-disciplinary scholarly community and support the development of cutting-edge work capable of confronting a new era of technological innovation, and its ethical and governance implications.

This 75-minute workshop is entirely virtual and will be conducted over Zoom — please register to receive the link. Papers will be pre-circulated, and all attendees are expected to read them. A full-group discussion of the work will follow a brief presentation by the author(s) and commentator feedback. Sessions will be recorded.

Additional questions?

Please email our graduate student coordinator,Uma Ilavarasan,