April 9, 2018 Kluge Center Hosts Conversation on Big Data and Its Impact on Democracy

Research Highlights Impact of Data-Mining, Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning for Campaigns, Voter Profiling

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The John W. Kluge Center at the Library of Congress is hosting a special conversation with distinguished visiting scholar Martin Hilbert to discuss the impact of big data, computational analysis and machine learning on the democratic process. In this conversation, Hilbert will address both challenges and opportunities presented by emerging big data technologies.

Kluge Center director John Haskell will join Hilbert for the discussion, titled “Big Data and Democracy,” at 4 p.m. on Thursday, April 26, in the James Madison Building, Montpelier room, located at 101 Independence Avenue, S.E., Washington, D.C. The event is co-sponsored by the Library’s National Digital Initiatives division. Tickets are not required for this event, which is free and open to the public.

Hilbert’s research findings on the digital revolution have been featured in several media outlets, including Scientific American, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, the Economist, NPR, BBC, Die Welt, Correio Braziliense, La República and El País, among others.

Hilbert has found that practices such as surveillance, opinion manipulation and fake news creation are often at odds with fundamental principles of representative democracy. Today’s digital information processing tools including artificial intelligence and deep neural networks also hold the potential to expand democratic participation and offer the opportunity to reimagine some of our democratic institutions.

 With his research, Hilbert pursues a multidisciplinary approach to understanding the role of information and knowledge in the development of complex social systems. Hilbert is an associate professor in the Department of Communication at the University of California, Davis.

Prior to his current position, Hilbert created and coordinated the Information Society program of the United Nations Regional Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean. In his 15 years as a United Nations economic affairs officer, he delivered hands-on technical assistance in the field of digital development to presidents, government experts, legislators, diplomats, non-governmental organizations and companies in more than 20 countries.

 Through a generous endowment from John W. Kluge, the Library of Congress established the Kluge Center in 2000 to bring together the world's best thinkers to energize one another, to distill wisdom from the Library’s rich resources and to interact with policymakers in Washington, D.C. For more information about the Kluge Center, visit loc.gov/kluge/.

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PR 18-041
ISSN 0731-3527