Democracy cannot function unless Enlightenment-era values survive. Chief among them is a shared belief in reason and an expectation that truth is knowable. Free speech absolutism has shaped online discussion since the early 1990s, paving the way for chaos in politics today. As the Trump-era shows, being able to pursue a reasoned, truthful political debate is an urgent priority. For that to happen, the culture around technology has to view accuracy, balance and logic as important as free expression. The solution to this problem is likely not one of engineering but of the values and expectations civil society has of the technology industry. Drawing on our experiences in media, politics, academia and information operation research, we will discuss why this shift needs to occur and how it can.
Programming descriptions are generated by participants and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of SXSW.