Skip to content

Defending Democracy in the Age of AI

Technology and democracy are increasingly at cross-purposes. Control of technology is too often concentrated in a small number of companies and entities, with malicious actors using it to sow division and threaten democratic institutions., Democracies respond by regulating, while the public sector struggles to adopt technology for improved services and citizen engagement.

But this conflict is not inevitable. Join globally recognized digital policymaker and civic technology leader Audrey Tang, and Hillary Hartley, CEO of US Digital Response and digital government trailblazer in Canada, for an engaging discussion with moderator Martin Regg Cohn as the Democracy Forum looks at how policymakers, business leaders and activists can use technology to build a more collaborative, diverse, and productive democratic world.

The event will preview Audrey’s forthcoming book, Plurality: The Future of Collaborative Technology and Democracy, co-authored with E. Glen Weyl.

Date: Thursday, April 4, 2024

Time: 1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. EDT

Location: The Dais


Audrey Tang

Audrey Tang

Audrey Tang (she/her), the inaugural Minister of Digital Affairs in Taiwan, is the first transgender cabinet minister in the world.

As a child, she practiced Taoism to moderate all strong emotions to survive a cardiac condition. After attending 10 educational institutions in 10 years, She left formal schooling and pursue self-education at the age of 14.

In her twenties, Tang became a prominent leader in free and open-source software, revitalizing the Haskell and Perl programming languages while transitioning to become non-binary.
During her thirties, she played a crucial role in shaping g0v (gov-zero), one of the most prominent civic tech movements worldwide. In 2014, she provided support to broadcast the demands and resolve conflicts during a three-week occupation of Taiwan’s parliament. Following this, she became a young advisor to a Taiwanese minister and, after the ensuing election, a minister herself.

Tang helped develop participatory democracy platforms such as vTaiwan and Join, bringing civic innovation into the public sector through initiatives like the Presidential Hackathon. She also contributed to the country’s best-in-the-world response to the pandemic crisis and successfully secured Taiwan’s information ecosystem against the most ambitious campaign on election manipulation and cyber interference in Taiwan’s history.

Hillary Hartley

Hillary Hartley

Hillary Hartley (she/her) is the Chief Executive Officer, U.S. Digital Response. As USDR’s CEO, Hillary sets the strategic vision for the organization and helps oversee all operations. Hillary most recently was the Chief Digital and Data Officer and Deputy Minister for the provincial government in Ontario, Canada.

Hillary was previously the head of the Ontario Digital Service, joining the province in April 2017 as Deputy Minister Responsible for Digital Government. She also served as Deputy Minister of Consumer Services, which included the government’s retail services operation (ServiceOntario), and programs focused on consumer protection.

Prior to coming to Ontario, Hillary was the Deputy Executive Director of 18F, a digital services agency in the U.S. federal government, and was a Presidential Innovation Fellow in 2013. She has worked with governments across jurisdictions for twenty-five years, serving as a director at NIC Inc., an organization that helps governments deliver programs and services online.

Martin Regg Cohn

Martin Regg Cohn


Martin Regg Cohn is a political columnist at the Toronto Star. Founder of the Democracy Forum at Toronto Metropolitan University, he is a Senior Fellow at the Dais. A foreign correspondent for 11 years in Asia and the Middle East, he was also Foreign Editor and a Parliamentary correspondent. He is a Senior Fellow at the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy at the University of Toronto.