Big Tech, Algorithmic Power, and Democratic Control

Journal of Politics (forthcoming)
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Abstract

This paper argues that instituting Citizen Boards of Governance (CBGs) is the optimal strategy to democratically contain Big Tech’s algorithmic powers in the digital public sphere. CBGs are bodies of randomly selected citizens that are authorized to govern the algorithmic infrastructure of Big Tech platforms. The main advantage of CBGs is to tackle the concentrated powers of private tech corporations without giving too much power to governments. I show why this is a better approach than ordinary state regulation or relying on market mechanisms. My proposal follows from the critique of Big Tech’s concentrated powers, and explains how this justifies democratizing algorithms in the digital public sphere. My approach thus speaks to a core commitment in democratic theory: enhancing the autonomy of the public sphere from the centers of powers in modern societies, be it corporations or governments.

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Ugur Aytac
Utrecht University

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References found in this work

Experts: Which ones should you trust?Alvin I. Goldman - 2001 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 63 (1):85-110.
Democratizing Algorithmic Fairness.Pak-Hang Wong - 2020 - Philosophy and Technology 33 (2):225-244.
On the People’s Terms.Philip Pettit - 2012 - Political Theory 44 (5):697-706.
Against Elections: The Lottocratic Alternative.Alexander A. Guerrero - 2014 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 42 (2):135-178.

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