Impact of Technology on Democracy

The first point of concern addressed by the Pew Institute article is the distrust that technological advancement generates among the populace. This is due to the advances in ways to misuse and abuse technology. Due to the slow and typically inefficient way of handling such abuses, people begin to lose faith in the governing body’s ability to keep them safe and do their jobs to the required level of efficacy. A 2021 Nextgov article states that “fraud will be used as a tool by state and nonstate actors to destabilize financial systems and governments” (Barry). This further illustrates the potential extent of the problem and explains why the public’s fears may be well-founded. However, the article also addresses the likelihood that “the U.S. military will add a new branch to defend against cyber threats” (Barry, 2021). This quote resonates with me because it offers a solution to the abovementioned issue of fraud and distrust.

Another issue highlighted by Andersen and Rainie is the growing number of people who become very wealthy off of new or little-known technology and then use said technology to avoid taxation. Because laws are still unclear on what to do with such crimes, they often go unpunished. A Medium article states that “a world with a new class of ‘super-haves’ will create resentment and political instability, unless governments and businesses finally decide to act more responsibly” (Elsayed-Ali, 2016). This quote illustrates not only that these changes were already being felt in 2016 but also that the government is not doing anything to address the issues. However, a Nextgov article from 2021 states that we may “expect to see governments explore embedding taxation structures in transactions”. This is encouraging, as the use of cryptocurrency and implementation of new taxation methods may improve the economic divide and make it harder for wealthy individuals to avoid taxes.

Finally, the article discusses the use of social media not only to trick the gullible into parting with their belongings, but also to disseminate misinformation. Foreign Policy Magazine ,in their 2015 article, states that “Social media also help polarize politics in some transitional countries” (Carothers). This illustrates the scale of how misinformation may affect the world with the use of social media. However, the Greenpeace UK, in their video on effectiveness of petitions, address the possible good that social media can do as well. They state: “Social media has given us a direct line to the world’s biggest brands, held politicians accountable for their actions, and been the launch pad for mass movements” (2021). This demonstrates that while misinformation may be an issue, social media can also be used to spread a positive message or call to arms against an injustice.


Anderson, J., & Rainie, L. (2020). Many tech experts say digital disruption will hurt democracy. Pew Research Center: Internet, Science & Tech.

Barry, S. (2021). 5 ways technology will revolutionize government in the 2020s.

Carothers, T. (2015). Why technology hasn’t delivered more democracy. Foreign Policy.

Elsayed-Ali, S. (2016). Five Ways Technology will shape the future of politics, Society and Human Rights. Medium.

Greenpeace UK. (2020). Do hashtags and petitions actually work? [Video]. YouTube.

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