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Algorithmic Politics Series 7: from algorithmic populism to algorithmic Democracy: the balance of democratic politics in the digital age

Time : 31/10/2021 Author : ixnwd9 Click : + -
        New technology has played a very important role in the rise and further development of populism. Algorithmic populism is a new product of the failure of representative democratic system to enter the algorithmic system, which has a profound impact on the activities and social norms of western social democracy. The fundamental way to restrict algorithmic populism is to restrict technology with technology and power with power. Blockchain may be a possible way to avoid the populist orientation of algorithms and promote algorithmic democracy through algorithmic technology. Abstract: the rise of populism is bringing more and more uncertainty to the future of Western democracy. In the recent upsurge of populism, the development of new technologies, especially algorithmic technology, once again raised the issue of the relationship between politics and technology to the academic community. The combination of algorithmic technology and populism triggered algorithmic populism.
 
        Algorithmic populism is the product of the deviation of the old body of representative democracy after entering the new era of algorithmic democracy, and has had a significant impact on the political structure and the behavior of participants in the democratization process of Western society. Therefore, it needs to be revised to make the democratic process develop in the direction of algorithmic democracy. Algorithmic populism and algorithmic democracy are one and two sides of the democratic process in the digital era. When the use of technology is out of balance, there will be algorithm populism, and the correct application of technology will help promote algorithm democracy. In the digital age, we need to use technological means to achieve the goal of from algorithmic populism to algorithmic democracy. In this regard, the blockchain just has such potential.
 
        Blockchain is a political form of multi center architecture. The relevant characteristics of blockchain technology can enable it to cope well with the new challenges brought by algorithmic populism to western society. However, as a governance technology and governance tool, blockchain cannot replace politics itself. Therefore, we should always treat the development of technology with a prudent attitude, so that the use of technology can achieve the goal of "good wisdom". With the acceleration of the intelligent revolution, relevant technologies have also been applied to people's political life. Among them, big data and algorithms have triggered an unprecedented political ecology of algorithms. In this political environment, the competition of power politics in western countries gradually evolved into the competition of algorithm.
 
        At the same time, the development of science and technology has promoted the rapid spread of new communication technologies in mixed media and reshaped the political environment. In western countries, politicians no longer rely on a single medium to convey their messages. Instead, they began to use a series of channels to release information through print media, TV programs, social media and other channels through big data and algorithms. In this regard, Chris & middot; De & middot; Claes de vreese and others believe that "today's political communication is characterized by a mixed form, and the media environment is highly selected". Therefore, the information that people are in contact with at present is likely to be pushed to their line of sight in an active, self selected and predetermined direction under the design of the algorithm.
 
        Populist forces rising in recent years are also closely combined with this political ecology to form algorithmic populism. There is not much research on algorithmic populism at home and abroad. Diggitmagazine editor in chief: Yike & middot; IOC mally has made relevant discussions in articles such as algorithmic populism and algorithmic activism, but he simply defined algorithmic populism as "digital space-time communication and discourse relations", and did not discuss its connotation and causes in depth. Caligin & middot; Karlijn Raaijmakers discussed how Western politicians combined algorithmic robots with populism to increase their followers.
 
        In addition, more scholars have studied the impact of algorithms on populism. For example, Jessica & middot; Jessica Baldwin Philippi summed up the algorithm as the technical expression of populism; And Paul & middot; Paolo gerbaudo believes that social media embedded with algorithmic technology can help populist leaders create an image of affinity in the election after it is combined with populism; Ma Liming and WAN Jing analyzed the relationship between algorithm push, political polarization and populism from the perspective of communication.
 
        At the same time, how to use the algorithm technology correctly? How can technology serve democracy? In recent years, relevant scholars have also begun to engage in this field, and most of the research focuses on the impact of blockchain on democratic politics. Among these studies, William & middot; William Magnuson published blockchain Democracy: technology, law and the rule of the masses in 2020. In the book, he discussed the possibility of building democracy with blockchain technology and the advantages and disadvantages of blockchain democracy. And Darcy & middot; Darcy Allen and others call blockchain democracy "cryptodemocracy".
 
        Anson & middot; Anson kahng and others introduced a collective decision-making model based on the perspective of algorithm using the concept of "mobile democracy". In addition, there are also some studies on building a blockchain democracy system, such as Neil middot; Nirkshetri and Jeffrey & middot; Jeffrey VOAs designed a voting system based on the blockchain. At present, the discussion on whether algorithm is going to populism or democracy in democratic politics has become a research hotspot. However, the above studies have not analyzed the connotation and characteristics of algorithm populism and algorithm democracy in a deep level.
 
        In my opinion, algorithmic populism is the product of the deviation of the old body of democracy after entering the new era of algorithms. Algorithmic populism and algorithmic democracy are one and two sides of the democratic process in the digital era. In the face of the adverse effects of algorithmic populism, we should correct them with algorithmic democracy. In this regard, on the basis of discussing the connotation and characteristics of algorithmic populism, this paper will analyze the ideal political model of algorithmic democracy in the digital era, and try to explore the potential of algorithmic democracy based on blockchain technology to rebalance democratic politics. The academia generally divides populism into left-wing populism and right-wing populism.
 
        The main difference is that left-wing populism belongs to the social egalitarian camp, while right-wing populism belongs to the extreme nationalist camp. In addition, the left-wing populists oppose the social privileged class, and the right-wing populists oppose foreign immigrants, both of which are exclusive. At the same time, scholars who study populism also subdivide populism. For example, rudig & middot; Rudiger Dornbusch and Sebastian & middot; Sebastian Edwards proposed macroeconomic populism, Jim & middot; Jim McGuigan proposed Cultural Populism.
 
        In addition, the related types include network populism, agricultural populism, oil populism, currency populism, and so on. However, these subdivided populism (except network populism) can hardly reflect the impact of the development of science and technology on the Populist Movement. Moreover, even network populism reflects only the propagation of populist leaders through new media and other multimedia channels, directly mobilizing netizens or fans to launch attacks on traditional elites. This also does not fully reflect the phenomenon that "KRISMA type" populist leaders rely on technology teams to use algorithms for precision marketing. Therefore, this paper discusses a populism based on algorithmic technology, namely algorithmic populism.
 
        The development of digital technology has brought about a transparent, immediate and universally accessible world, which enables people to become informed decision makers in an open democracy. Against this background, political autonomy seems to be compatible with the distributed social technology network, and the direct democracy pursued by political theorists is also possible in this period. But at the same time, a kind of strategic populism appeared in western countries. This populism is combining with algorithmic technology, holding the banner of representing the people, and undermining the process of democracy in western countries. Whether it is "brexit" or "2016 US election", there is the shadow of Cambridge analysis company behind it.
 
        Cambridge analysis incorporated populist elements into its promotional activities, and successfully guided and changed people's concepts and ideas through some micro objectives and precision marketing. In this regard, the Oxford English Dictionary directly selected "post truth" as the vocabulary of 2016. Under the influence of algorithm promotion, people are more susceptible to emotion than facts. For example, a study published on science shows that Twitter users are more likely to forward false information and ignore real information. As for the "post truth", Zou Shipeng believes that the essence of the post truth of the Internet world is populism.
 
        In Dong Qingling's view, 2016 is also known as the end of the era of traditional polls. Whether it is "brexit" or "2016 US election", the common reasons for the failure of traditional poll technology companies are as follows: first, the sample of polls is insufficient; Second, under the influence of political correctness, the public will not express their true thoughts during the polling period; Third, the promotion of Cambridge analysis company's data strategy. In this regard, with the help of the algorithm team, the political elites in western countries are deliberately catering to and even manipulating the people. Before this populist wave, there have been three waves of Populist Movement in history. Today's algorithmic populism prevailing in the western world belongs to the fourth wave of Populist Movement.
 
        As far as the four populist waves are concerned, their development process is as follows: first, the social foundation is mainly the poor and powerless middle and lower class people, but the scope of influence is gradually expanding. For example, both the Russian Populist Movement in 1870 and the Latin American Populist Movement in the 1930s and 1960s are essentially mass movements. The first wave of populism was only a mass movement within a country, and it gradually became a regional movement from the second time. Second, ideologically, left-wing populism has started to dominate, but with the development of globalization, the power of right-wing populism is gradually increasing. For example, although the anti immigration bills such as the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 were triggered by the "people's party" movement in the United States, the basic mainstream still belongs to a left-wing and anti elite rural movement.
 
        With the development of globalization, the power of right-wing populism is also growing. Especially in the fourth wave of populism, the right-wing populist forces have become a political force that can not be ignored. Third, the leading body is mainly elites, while trying to evolve into a part of party politics. From the Russian Populist Movement in 1870 to the European and American Populist Movement in the early 21st century, populism has increasingly shown its instrumental and political strategic side, and populist movement is also transforming from revolutionary to reformist and party politics. As one of the types of populism, algorithmic populism has the general characteristics of populism.
 
        For example, algorithmic populism has the basic elements commonly shared by populism, such as emphasizing the people, anti establishment, anti elite, and exclusiveness. However, as the latest manifestation of the fourth populist wave, algorithmic populism has swept across many countries in the world in the way of both left and right, which is different from the previous three populist waves, which mainly focus on left-wing radicalism. Moreover, in algorithmic populism, the role of technology has been greatly enhanced. On the whole, algorithmic populism presents the following characteristics. First, data. In the era of data, data has become an important strategic resource. The data-based feature of algorithmic populism mainly refers to the target audience through the collection of public data.
 
        For example, Cambridge analysis once declared: "we have 5000 data points of more than 230 million US voters. We can establish your target audience and then use these important information to attract, persuade and motivate them to take action.". Second, algorithmization. The status quo of the competition among political parties in western countries gives the algorithm the status of the center. In the latest Western populist activities, algorithm marketing has become a mainstream. With the help of the algorithm, every people may become the target of tailored observation. By decomposing people into various groups, populists show different interests to different audiences with different voices and contents.
 
        Third, capitalization. With the deepening of national and social dependence on algorithms, capital in western countries has begun to use the advantages of algorithm technology to exercise strict control over individuals and even countries. Behind the power of algorithm is the power of capital. In the western world, as the leader in the process of algorithm design and R & D, capital not only promotes the development of technology, but also constantly strengthens its own influence and control over the country and society. The political field of western countries is being captured by capital. To a certain extent, the popular algorithms and algorithm carriers in western countries are endowed with the value they want. Algorithmic populism can be said to be a product of science and technology, and also a by-product of algorithmic political communication.
 
        As Andre & middot; Andrea roemmele and Rachel & middot; As Rachel Gibson pointed out, "changes in technology are increasing the role of digital tools in election campaigns and making people more inclined to use data. Therefore, we can see that the types of technology teams in the national management of election campaigns are diversifying. New data teams, analysis teams and information testing teams have emerged together, and experiments to mobilize voters to vote have been organized.". But it is accompanied by such as Jurgen & middot; Technology itself described by Jurgen Habermas has increasingly become an ideology.
 
        Algorithmic populism has hidden ideological characteristics, so ordinary people are more likely to be confused by it. To sum up, this paper believes that algorithmic populism is a kind of "elitism" covered with "Populism" by its nature, while algorithmic populism refers to that some politicians who are good at using algorithms and big data as an aid regard populism as a tool to obtain the support of ordinary people, and they employ professional technical teams to integrate the basic information of ordinary people into data, And on the basis of existing data analysis, we use algorithmic robots, network super platform advertising push and other technologies to influence and even change the behavior of the public. As a strategy and means, these algorithmic populist politicians are using mixed media as a carrier to try to resonate with ordinary people through data analysis and algorithmic push, so as to obtain votes and win elections.
 
        Under the influence of a series of factors, such as the global economic downturn, cultural conflicts caused by human cross regional flows, conflicts between different religions, the decline of political parties, elite corruption, and deliberate guidance of some "Christma type" leaders, Western Europe, North America and other western countries are experiencing a new round of populist movements in human history. More importantly, the technological factor of algorithm has also been applied to the Populist Movement, which has promoted the development of populism. Technological innovation is reconstructing the way people communicate, work and organize with destructive influence. Political game in western countries
 
        
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