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SNF Dialogues

The Interplay between Technology and Democracy: Pοtential and Limitations


The SNF DIALOGUES and the SNF Agora Institute at Johns Hopkins University held on Wednesday, June 24 an online discussion about the potential benefits technology holds for democracy and any limits to its potential, during the Summer Nostos Festival.

George Zarkadakis, Digital Lead at Willis Towers Watson, Author said “We need more citizen assemblies where people come in, discuss with experts and have opinion and their opinion matters. It is important that their opinion matters. I think that this is one way of taking science communication and technology to the next level, which is citizens becoming true stakeholders”. Referring to the role of democracy, George Zarkadakis mentioned that “We need an enhanced liberal democracy that takes into account citizen participation in a much more significant way in order to regain trust”.

Alondra Nelson, President of the Social Science Research Council, Harold F. Linder Professor at the Institute for Advanced Study mentioned: “More than ever before it’s both important to have real experts at the table and those who are not experts but live with the consequences of the decisions that are being made by a technocratic society”, while regarding the role of democracy she stated that “The challenge for us in thinking about democracy is that the move to the universal is not always a move that provides equal liberties to all people”.

The discussion was moderated by journalist and SNF DIALOGUES Executive Director Anna-Kynthia Bousdoukou and SNF Agora Institute director Hahrie Han.

The DIALOGUES are curated and moderated by Anna-Kynthia Bousdoukou.

*The opinions expressed by DIALOGUES participants are solely their own and do not necessarily represent the views of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF) or the SNF DIALOGUES team. Speakers’ remarks are made freely, without prior guidance or intervention from the team.


Wednesday 24 June 2020


The SNF DIALOGUES and the SNF Agora Institute at an online discussion during the Summer Nostos Festival.



Hahrie Han

Hahrie Han

Director, SNF Agora Institute at Johns Hopkins University
Alondra Nelson

Alondra Nelson

President, Social Science Research Council Harold F. Linder - Professor, Institute for Advanced Study
George Zarkadakis

George Zarkadakis

Digital Lead Willis Towers Watson, Author