IN DIALOGUE WITH OUR ELONTECH EXPERTS | January-March 2019: Tatiana Revoredo

Tatiana Revoredo, lawyer, ELONTech-Liaison , Brasil

1) Are digital media and information a challenge to Democracy?

Today, public opinion is no longer a reflection of traditions and moral standards transmitted by oral language or shaped in the traditional poles of forming ideas in a community. And the advance in the use of the resources of the world-wide-web network for the diffusion of information raises numerous questions.

Its users increase progressively and tend to have more affordable and cheap forms of connections when compared to the difficulties faced in the initial years of its installation. The frontiers for the transmission of information are more porous, and even attempts at censorship are weakened by the breaches encountered by opponents of undemocratic national governments (ROSENFELD).

The chances of obtaining information from different sources, with distinct political-party affiliations, are greater, as are the possibilities for citizens, in personal pages, social networks, blogs and the sending of open messages, to explain their dissatisfaction, claims, and proposals.

In theory, the potential expansion of political participation fostered by the internet would bring closer the realization of the ideal of direct democracy, which would lead to the possibility of an intermediated political management, an E-government (ROY).

In this context, the expansion of access to communication and the increasing availability of information can be decisive factors for changing patterns of democratic living.

Based on the concept of representation, the contemporary democratic experience would be sensitive to these innovations by tightening the links between representatives and voters. And this, at first, would make the ideal of direct democracy gain a more concrete profile.

As advantages of digital information and media, we can mention:

  • The internet is a vehicle that facilitates the articulation of minorities and groups that have their political participation curtailed because it allows the agglutination of supporters of like-minded people who would find it difficult to meet if they did not overcome geographical or cultural barriers.
  • The Internet offers an alternative to the participation of groups that do not find repercussions of their demands on the state political institutions.
  • The Internet allows the representatives to have greater contact with their voters
  • The plurality of sources of information and the ease of dissemination of data and opinions cause the Internet to bring to the political debate issues that might not be discussed in Parliament or in the Executive Branch because they do not find resonance between leaders and political parties.
  • The multiple resources available on the Internet leave open the possibility for political representation to make progress when it is considered the greatest possibility for voters to monitor the performance of politicians and to participate more actively in the decision-making process.

On the other hand, disadvantages that lead me to see information and digital media as a challenge to democracy are:

  • If a greater number of claims can be launched on the Internet, the most frequent forms of interaction between users prevent them from obtaining the answers that will best solve the problems exposed or that are more likely to obtain adhesion in the majority deliberation process.
  • There is a greater propensity for users to use the internet to search for positions, to confirm their preconvictions, to frustrate the possibility that the global computer network is a tool for reaching consensus in the political debate.
  • Discussions in electronic media rarely reflect the combination of divergent ideas, which is why possible agreements reached on the Internet tend to reiterate the conviction of a single segment of the constituency.
  • The tools available on social networks, especially Facebook, allow the user to be associated or receive material linked to a political current without having sincerely adhered to their claims. Digital friends can automatically publish photos or images that are posted on the pages of those with whom they relate, or users can be considered to be supporters of congruent ideas from unintentionally made joint associations, making it unnecessary to know what are the political positions actually adhered to by consumers of the digital environment (DORIA, 2012).
  • The largest number of users can be launched on the internet, as the most frequent forms of interaction between users prevent them from searching for answers that improve the relationship between users and the opportunities to get more results. majority.
  • Second, because access is quicker to voters’ opinions and wishes, it is not a finding that a different policy is not conducted as an unequivocal equality of influence (YOUNG).
  • Democracy in communication as the basis for world democracy is now a reality, as this is the practice of becoming a broad-based, open-minded and open-minded scenario for dialogue.
  • The capacity for unequal rhetoric among voters (now also shaped by the knowledge of technological tools and resources) persists with a new emphasis.
  • A source of source data from the false information, without reference to the difficulty that arises at the time of calling the false.
  • After a conclusion of the information, which has already circulated and won over social networks, it is a different opportunity to surrender. Crystallization of information has already occurred.

In this context, I believe that information and digital media are still a challenge for democracy. Is there freedom for exercising citizenship in a manipulated virtual environment?



ROSENFELD, Michel. Putting the people back in the constitution: on arab popular revolt and other acts of defiance. International Journal of Constitutional Law, Oxford, v. 8, n. 4, p. 685-689, 2010.

ROY, Jeffrey. E-Government. Social Science Computer Review, Thousand Oaks, v. 21, n.1, p. 3 -5, 2003.

YOUNG, Iris Marion. Representação política, identidade e minorias. Tradução de Alexandre Morales. Lua Nova, São Paulo, n. 67, p. 139-190, 2006.


2) Can we have algorithmic decision-making systems responsible?

Algorithmic Accountability aims to understand what goes on internally in the algorithms that are run and are often hidden in true black boxes that are not made public so that the population can actually understand why such action was taken by a machine.

A decision making that will harm other individuals due to lack of impartiality or incorrect analysis of data will happen because the algorithm is designed to perform that way.

Taking into account the above, the possible paths for having algorithmic decision-making systems responsible would be:

  1. the introduction of a regulation in the sectors of the computer that runs these algorithms so that there is an effective inspection of the activities that are happening during the executions of the same ones. However, as the introduction of this regulation could ultimately affect the industries and software developers, it would possibly be more advantageous than …
  2. Companies themselves, which develop the codes and are responsible for performing the data analysis algorithms, are responsible for ensuring the reliability of their systems, for example by disseminating the process “underneath the cloths” in their systems. algorithms.
  3. Another possibility discussed is self-regulation by the developers themselves through the software itself


3) Is it possible or desirable to build moral principles in Artificial Intelligence systems?


An American military drone in 2011 eliminated, for suspicious behavior, a group of men in Datta Khel, Pakistan, who were in assembly to resolve a local conflict; Google in 2017 is being sued in England in a class action suit for collecting data from 5.4 million iPhone users, theoretically protected by privacy policies. In common, both have artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms that, unlike the character of Fyodor Dostoevsky (author of the classic nineteenth-century literature “Crime and Punishment”), do not dwell on ethical conflicts.

The relative autonomy gained by machines, when they no longer follow decision processes pre-programmed by humans and begin to learn for themselves, poses new ethical issues for society and the urgency of establishing legal and regulatory frameworks. The well-known “Three Laws of Robotics” proposed by Asimov over 50 years ago, often cited as an ethical reference for AI, are not based on the current stage: intelligent technologies are not only related to robotics – on the contrary, they are in all fields of knowledge and their practical applications – nor are these intelligent machines subordinated directly to the “orders given to them by human beings.”

Gerd Leonhard advocates in the book “Technology vs Humanity” for the formation of a global council of digital ethics to deal with artificial intelligence, doubting the ability of machines to understand and assimilate some kind of ethics, at least in the current stage of development of AI.

For him, no AI will be truly intelligent without some kind of ethical governance module, a prerequisite for limiting the likelihood of failures. It is pertinent, however, to the American philosopher Ned Block’s question “whether machines learn from human behavior, and this is not always in line with ethical values, how can we predict what they will do?

Numerous issues arise from the most basic (how to incorporate human ethics into AI technologies, whether human values ​​are sometimes ambiguous or not verbalized even among humans themselves?), It even makes sense to invest in the development of an intelligence that in the future will not have human control, with imponderable risks and threats.

MEPs say they want to endow autonomous robots with “electronic personality”, that is, they are able to shoulder responsibility for their actions. Other ideas under discussion are the creation of a code of ethical conduct for robotics engineers, and the European Robotics Agency and IA.

Two obstacles hamper the results: the relative low knowledge of the legislators’ artificial insights, and the speed with which AI has been advancing. If there is still no regulatory consensus on globalization – the financial market, the internet, and many other well-known and old issues, what to expect about AI!


The truth is that there are many more questions than answers.



Kaufman, Dora. In: A ética e a Inteligência Artificial. Valor Econômico, 21/21/2017


4) Trend for research and innovation in my field of expertise?


4.1) Blockchain: promises to reshape industries, bringing confidence, providing transparency and leveraging investment across business ecosystems, driving costs, slowing transactions and expanding cash flow. Blockchain can be a means of obtaining operational results, automating business processes or digitizing records. They have the potential of separated the works of connected entities, as well as the potentials of the loop of physical and digital assets.


4.2) Ethics and digital privacy: As people find themselves increasingly concerned about their lower income sources in public and private organizations, and organizations are more resilient to their activities. Privacy and secure solution are key components in building trust.


4.3) Cyber​​Security: IoT’s security concern is high on the list of business priorities and citizens, but the gap remains highly highly vulnerable. The risks are greater than ever, especially with regard to authentication processes. The precursor companies for risk control, identification of identity, implementation of protection plans and development of indicators and monitoring;


4.4) Autonomous things (robots, drones and autonomous vehicles): As autonomous things proliferate, with pleasures of life, personal attention or with a human contribution.


4.5) Augmented Analytics: Enhanced analysis automates the process of data preparation, insight generation and insight visualization, eliminating the need to become professionals in many situations. This study is a science for countries, group development of science and practice for performations, their main tasks for the study of data and analysis extra predictive and prescriptive insights of the data. By 2020, according to Gartner, the number of groups of data individuals with the highest number of times faster than the number of data experts.


4.6) AI-driven development: highly advanced AI-based development environments, automating functional and non-functional aspects of applications, will give rise to a new era of ‘citizen application developer’, where non-professionals can use AI-driven tools to generate new solutions automatically.


4.7) Immersive experience: Conversation platforms are changing the way people interact with the digital world. Virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (RA), and mixed reality (MR) are changing the way people perceive the digital world. This combined change in perception and interaction models leads to the user’s immersive experience in the future.


5) The main cultural change in Brazil, caused by technological disruptions?


With mobile devices, especially the mobile phone, we have a series of applications that help us find the best ways, get out of traffic and check the most appropriate bus and train lines to reach the desired destination. This particular gain of the internet is particularly important in large Brazilian cities, where locomotion remains an exciting challenge.

In Brazil, we witnessed the enormous resistance of taxi drivers and their unions to the operation of differentiated transportation services provided by this application. But the desire of consumers, benefited by an improvement in urban mobility, was heard by Brazilian politicians who passed a law to regulate and allow the use of urban mobility applications such as Uber and 99 Taxi.