Professor of Management Science and Engineering and Computer Science at Stanford University
310 Sutardja Dai Hall
Friday October 21, 2022
In this talk, we will touch upon two aspects of social choice that have gained additional salience in the digital age: deliberation and representation. We will describe the Stanford Deliberation platform, which is a video-conferencing platform for civic deliberations that incorporates an automated moderator. We will provide empirical results with this platform, and then also formally describe a sequential negotiation process that has provably good properties. We will then illustrate the difficulty of running a civic feedback process that is representative of the underlying population. The first is from our experience with running online advertising campaigns — we find that targeting certain minority populations can result in a decreased number of votes from both the targeted demographic and the non-targeted demographic. We will also describe a budgetary feedback process that we ran with the city of Austin which saw dramatic changes in the number of participants and how they voted over its lifetime since it happened to coincide with the murder of George Floyd. Our experience leads to both theoretical and normative questions regarding sortition as well as demographic reweighting. We will provide preliminary progress toward some of the theoretical questions and leave the normative questions for general discussion.