The project Augmented Deliberative Democracy (ADD-up): Enhancing Large-scale Public Arbitrations in Real Time is funded 04/2017 – 03/2020 by the Volkswagen Foundation. ADD-up promotes interdisciplinary research in the field of computational social science. Principal investigators are Dr. Annette Hautli-Janisz (General and Computational Linguistics), Dr. Brian Plüss (Argumentation Mining and Visualization), and Dr. Valentin Gold (Political Science).
The aim of this project is to capitalize on the increasing digitalisation of society for advancing techniques of participatory democracy. For instance, analyses of sport events broadcast on TV (e.g. football games) are presented to the viewer by way of augmented reality, a technique which is used to enhance the experience of the viewer with computer-supplied data. The aim of the present project is to automatically monitor and enhance large-scale participatory processes in a similar way. Through an interdisciplinary collaboration between Political Science (University of Göttingen, Germany), Linguistics (University of Konstanz, Germany) and Computer Science (University of Dundee, Scotland), we will develop ADD-up, an innovative system for Augmented Deliberative Democracy (ADD).
With the ADD-up system we will deliver an automatic analysis tool for English and German which can analyse and augment deliberative communication (the exchange of arguments in a respectful way where the better argument wins) in large participatory processes in real time. The system is particularly concerned with the analysis of the process of decision-making, the exchange of arguments and the stance of individual participants to the points raised in the debate. As such, the system will run in parallel to a debate, taking as input a live stenographic feed and processing it utterance by utterance based on a statistical model of deliberative communication. It then provides participants with an augmented view of the ongoing debate via large analytical displays.
The innovation which comes with the ADD-up system has the potential to digitally transform participatory processes, making them more successful for all parties involved.