Co-Designing Participatory Tools for a New Age: A Proposal for Combining Collective and Artificial Intelligences

Co-Designing Participatory Tools for a New Age: A Proposal for Combining Collective and Artificial Intelligences

José Luis Fernández-Martínez (Institute of Advanced Social Studies (IESA-CSIC) & University of Granada, Granada, Spain), Maite López-Sánchez (Universitat de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain), Juan Antonio Rodríguez Aguilar (Artificial Intelligence Research Institute (IIIA-CSIC), Cerdanyola, Spain), Dionisio Sánchez Rubio (Universitat Politècnica de València (UPV) & Escola d'Art i Superior de Disseny de València EASD, Valencia, Spain) and Berenice Zambrano Nemegyei (MediaLab Prado, Madrid, Spain)
DOI: 10.4018/IJPADA.2018100101


In the context of a citizen lab, this article describes how a vanguard of activists, designers, scholars and participation practitioners were involved in a participatory prototyping process. CoGovern was designed as an online participation tool whose focus is to incorporate citizen preferences in local policy making. It is aimed at supporting informed and transparent participatory processes while reducing the ability of sponsoring authorities to “cherry-pick” policy proposals and avoid providing explanations. This article proposes a decision-making process that incorporates artificial intelligence techniques into a collective decision process and whose result is mainly based on standard optimization techniques rather than vote-counting.
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2. Introducing Ai In Participatory Decision-Making Processes

Political sociology often distinguishes three decision-making models in democratic regimes: representative, participatory, and technocratic (Bengtsson & Christensen, 2014). The major difference between them resides in the actors responsible for the decision making. Thus, in the representative model, a group of elected politicians are in charge of making decisions, whereas that is the responsibility of citizens and experts in the participatory and technocratic models, respectively. Recent public opinion research argues that most citizens prefer decision-making processes that involve both elected politicians and ordinary people; however, people believe that decisions are solely taken by elected politicians (Allen et al. 2015; Font et al. 2015, 2017).

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