Technology is increasingly impacting human autonomy and agency, encroaching on our inner lives. This is a serious threat to the future of humanity, from the manipulation of elections through big data and machine learning to brain implants that can read our thoughts. Technology is affecting our relationships, our security and our capacity for innovation. The CIGI project “Legitimate Influence or Unlawful Manipulation — The Dark Side of Algorithms and the Freedom of Thought,” pushes to address this issue through the creation of a UN Special Representative of the Secretary General to protect the forum internum in the technological future.
Through this lens, CIGI has invited research contributions examining a range of angles related to the freedom of thought online, including disinformation, human rights and human cognition. This meeting will bring together contributing researchers and others to discuss the collective work, which will lead to a special report characterizing the state of freedom of thought, and the ways to engage in dialogue with Canadian and international public officials regarding the possibility for future actions.