AI Synergies


Jeremy Pitt

Professor, Imperial College London

Democracy by Design: Basic Democracy and the Self-Organisation of Collective Governance

Basic democracy has been proposed as a means of collective self-governance distinct from liberal democracy, i.e. it is a conventional rule-based system of empowerment, decision-making and public action that is both prior to and separate from concerns such as justice, morality and rights. In this talk, we investigate the automation of basic democracy as a framework for the self-organisation of collective governance in open systems. We present a series of simulation experiments in civic participation, legislation, and entrenchment, which demonstrate how an open system founded on the principles of basic democracy can mitigate the risks of oligarchy, autocracy and majoritarian tyranny. This implies that basic democracy can provide a stable platform for implementing value-driven requirements such as the supply of sustainable institutions and ‘liberal’ values like distributive justice. We conclude by considering the implications for the development and management of socio-technical systems, specifically that these systems should be ‘supplied’ based on the theory of basic democracy.


I am Deputy Head of the Intelligent Systems and Networks Group.

My research programme focuses on a broad range of interests in Intelligent Systems, spanning human-network interaction (in particular the use of Affective Computing in this context), multi-agent systems (specifically norm-governed and socio-cognitive agent societies), and ad hoc networks (including self-organisation and Quality-of-Service (QoS) provisioning).

I have been involved in many European projects developing intelligent agent and multi-agent systems, and in particular was Project Manager of the IST project ALFEBIITE (IST-1999-10298) from 2000-2004. From 1998-2002 I was involved in the FIPA agent standardisation initiative. I am currently involved in research collaborations with partners in Japan and India. 

My teaching includes a first year course on Scientific Computing, third year courses on Artificial Intelligence and Human-Computer Interaction, and the Summer Group Projects for the Information System Engineering (ISE) stream, where students develop a multi-agent e-commerce system.


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