Salon: Tracking the Public Mind: can online discourse be a force for good?

  • Date: Jun 21, 2022
  • Time: 03:00 PM
  • Speaker: William Powers, CHM, Public Mind
  • Location: Max Planck Dahlem Campus of Cognition, Dillenburger Straße 53, 14199 Berlin
  • Room: Open Campus Space
  • Host: Center for Humans and Machines
Salon: Tracking the Public Mind: can online discourse be a force for good?

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William Powers, Public Mind & Center for Humans and Machines, in conversation with Iyad Rahwan

Tracking the Public Mind: can online discourse be a force for good?

Democracy has always depended on healthy public discourse. Today’s public discourse happens online where 3.8 billion people around the world are speaking up each day on social media platforms about urgent societal issues. But because the platforms are vast and the data complex, most citizen voices aren’t reaching the democratic institutions, media outlets and other organizations that need to hear them. With traditional polling in crisis, it's difficult to obtain accurate readouts of public opinion. This disconnect between public opinion and democratic channels of power has exacerbated social disintegration, political turmoil and a widespread loss of trust in the US and other societies. What if digital technologies could strengthen democracy rather than weakening it? That’s the mission of Public Mind, a US-based tech nonprofit led by William Powers. He will discuss its innovative approach, inspired by an MIT-built AI system, to making the digital public square a more constructive force in the world.

William Powers is co-founder and CEO of Public Mind, a non-profit technology organization that’s mapping online discourse about the major questions of our time. A New York Times-bestselling author and former MIT research scientist, Powers has spent the last decade working on ways that AI-driven technologies can reflect human values and enable social progress. He lives in Massachusetts, USA and is currently Visiting Scholar for Humanistic Technologies at the Max Planck Center for Humans and Machines in Berlin.


Attend at the Max Planck Dahlem Campus of Cognition or join online:
Webex Access
Meeting number: 2744 852 8818
Password: 5K5Fh6E67FK


The CHM Salon for Humans and Machines hosts conversations on AI and related topics with prominent voices from science and culture.

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