Max Stearns & Dr. Jennifer Edmond: Democracy in the AI & Digital Age

30 November 2023

Democracy in the AI & Digital Age 

In the 21st century, we do democracy differently. The internet has opened up new channels of information, meaning that citizens can access and contribute to discussions about policies and governance. 

Today we find out how AI and big data support democracy in a digital age and what elections might look like in the future.

Our experts are designer, artist and strategist and senior design lead with Democratic Society, Max Stearns and Associate Professor of Digital Humanities and investigator with the ADAPT Centre at Trinity College, Dr. Jennifer Edmonds.



00:15 How digital technologies affect democracy 

04:27 The KT4D project (Knowledge Technologies for Democracy)

07:50 The Digital Democracy Lab 

10:01 A cultural lens on technology and democracy

13:07 Meaningful inefficiencies in democracy 

14:55 Technology in collective spaces 

16:39 Social protections for consumers 

18:24 Using technology to encourage informed decision making 

22:13 Diffusing polarization 

24:36 Trust in tools and information 

30:50 Opportunities for designers to reevaluate

33:44 How AI will impact elections 


Max Stearns is a design-minded researcher, strategist, and creative lead with proven experience crafting participatory systems change. He is a Senior Design Lead at Democratic Society, an organization that works with governments, civil society, and citizens to create opportunities for participation, dialogue, and action. His role is to research, design, and co-create systems and solutions that address social, ecological, and economic challenges across sectors and contexts, such as climate action, democratic innovation, and civic engagement. 

Max’s work has been showcased at NYCxDesign: Design Week, the Paris Design Summit, Feedback Summit, and the Allied Media Conference, as well as featured in the Stanford Social Innovation Review, BloombergCities, and Common in Design. Max holds a BA in political science and economics from Ohio State University and an MFA in Transdisciplinary Design from Parsons School of Design.

Jennifer Edmond is Associate Professor of Digital Humanities at Trinity College Dublin where she is co-director of the Trinity Centre for Digital Humanities, Director of the MPhil in Digital Humanities and Culture and a funded Investigator of the SFI ADAPT Centre.   Over the course of the past 10 years, Jennifer has coordinated a large number of significant funded research projects, including her most recent project on AI, big data and democracy, KT4D.  She has served in leadership roles in a number of European-level policy and infrastructure organisations, including six years as a Director and President of DARIAH-EU, four on the European Commission’s Open Science Policy Platform, and her current role as a member of the Governing Board of the European Association of Social Sciences and Humanities (EASSH).  Her research explores interdisciplinarity, humanistic and hybrid research processes, and the emergence of critical digital humanities as a contributor to both research and technology development.



Adapt Radio is produced by for the Adapt Centre

For more information about ADAPT visit