AMS AMS Science for the City #5 – Democracy by Design

Electric cars, smart homes, and parking apps: cities all over the world are testing and rolling out smart technologies to improve the efficiency of urban systems and the services for its citizens. But while these digitalized cities offer benefits, they also pose some ethical challenges. What happens when, for example, an energy system’s malfunction leads to temporary scarcity? How is decided which households will enjoy uninterrupted energy supply -and which ones won’t? AMS Principal Investigator Gerd Kortuem and experts from energy company Alliander dived into the risks and threats that smart technology poses to our democratic values, and how these can be included in smart decision-making processes. During this session, they discuss -together with other experts and the audience- how we can design our smart cities in such a way that we can utilize the positive effects, without sacrificing our human, social and democratic values.

Case study: Transparent Charging Station
In the program Democracy by Design, AMS Institute uses the transparent charging station as a case-study to research the way democratic values are applied in smart decision-making processes. This transparent charging station – developed by Elaad and Alliander – is a response to the growing importance of algorithms in our daily lives, making visible the invisible logic when charging an electric vehicle. The display shows how the electricity is allocated between the cars being charged.