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Welcome to the Official Schedule for RightsCon Toronto 2018. This year’s program, built by our global community, is our most ambitious one yet. Within the program, you will find 18 thematic tracks to help you navigate our 450+ sessions

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Last updated: Version 2.3 (Updated May 15, 2018).

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Wednesday, May 16 • 14:30 - 15:45
Some Like it Bot: Can AI Strengthen Global Democracy?

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Bot-based smart automation and artificial intelligence is rapidly transforming the ways in which citizens go about their daily lives - from the way we learn languages, to obtaining medical advice, to having our own personal virtual assistants. But how can bots also effectively help citizens engage with or hold accountable their governments and political institutions? This session will explore different bot-based approaches that seek to reduce barriers between governments and citizens to strengthen communication, improve government transparency and facilitate reporting on problems or abuses for increased accountability. Panelists will give a short overview of their specific projects, articulating both the successes and challenges of developing and deploying bot-based platforms, with a diverse range of purposes. Afterward, a moderated discussion will attempt to address some of the following questions, based on both panelist experience and audience input:

- What are the implications of bots for democracy activists or human rights advocates?
- With bots becoming prevalent across social media platforms, how can governments use them to bypass more archaic communication structures to be more responsive to citizens?
- What unique impacts do voice and messenger bots have for conducting advocacy?
- How can we overcome known pitfalls to using bots as a replacement for a human counterpart?
- How do bots make politics more human?
- Can a bot still be considered a success if it simply improves technology performance without impacting engagement levels or improving ideological differences?
- What experiences have others had in deploying them as a means of bypassing bureaucracy?

Although bots used for civic engagement are becoming more prevalent, we are still in the early days of evaluating impact and determine metrics to measure their success. This session aims to build a more robust community of practice around this field, offering concrete suggestions, recommendations, and resources that can be used by both those thinking about creating their own “bot for good” as well as experienced bot developers or implementers.

avatar for Sarah Moulton

Sarah Moulton

Senior Technology Innovation Analyst, National Democratic Institute

avatar for Chris Doten

Chris Doten

Chief Innovation Officer, National Democratic Institute (NDI)
Super interested in global politics and tech - how do you help individuals organize for more democratic societies, and how do you help political institutions keep up with their people as they get swamped by the tech tsunami? Lead for DemTools initiative (https://dem.tools) designed... Read More →
avatar for Elizabeth Dubois

Elizabeth Dubois

Assistant Professor, University of Ottawa

Wednesday May 16, 2018 14:30 - 15:45 EDT