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IE University launches the Tech4Democracy Challenge as part of Joe Biden’s Summit for Democracy

IE University launches Tech4Democracy Challenge | IE University

Manuel Muñiz, Provost of IE University, will participate tomorrow in the Summit on a panel dedicated to the role of technology in advancing democracy.

Joe Biden, President of the United States, inaugurates today the Summit for Democracy, a virtual event aimed at reinforcing the world’s democracies, fighting against authoritarianism, addressing corruption, and advancing respect for human rights. As part of this global event convened by the White House, IE University, in partnership with U.S. State Department, will launch the Tech4Democracy Global Entrepreneurship Challenge. The goal of this project will be to identify through a set of regional startup and scaleup competitions entrepreneurs that build and advance democracy-affirming technologies, and ultimately help ensure that democratic values underpin technological development. Manuel Muñiz, IE University Provost, will participate tomorrow in a panel within the Summit under the title of “Countering Digital Authoritarianism and Affirming Democratic Values”.

The prize challenges will kick off in the coming months and run over 2022, the Summit for Democracy’s year of action. Competitions will take place in multiple countries spanning the democratic world. A subset of the winners of these competitions will be able to share their innovations with the broader community of democratic stakeholders at a second Summit for Democracy.

The Tech4Democracy Challenge will bring together researchers, innovators, investors, and entrepreneurs to identify and highlight key innovations. Specific areas of innovation will include data for policymaking, responsible AI and machine learning, fighting misinformation, and advancing government transparency and accessibility to government data and services. In the process of executing this project the field of Democracy-Affirming Technologies itself will be more clearly drawn. 

IE University will rely on three of its Centers to execute this project: the Center for the Governance of Change, an applied research institution working on the governance of emerging technologies, the PublicTech Lab, an academic action tank dedicated to fostering the use of technology by the public sector, and the Entrepreneurship Center, an innovative initiative that seeks to foster entrepreneurship and has a long experience at running thematic startup competitions around the world. 

“As a global academic institution with a strong commitment to the values of democracy, openness and diversity, we at IE University are honored to contribute to the effort launched by President Biden to forward democracy-affirming technologies.”
Manuel Muñiz, Provost of IE University

Manuel Muñiz, Provost of IE University, who will participate tomorrow as a panelist of the Summit for Democracy in a discussion on the spread of digital authoritarianism and how to build technologies with democratic values at their core, said the following: “As a global academic institution with a strong commitment to the values of democracy, openness and diversity, we at IE University are honored to contribute to the effort launched by President Biden to forward democracy-affirming technologies. Universities and research institutions have a fundamental obligation when it comes to fostering innovation that improves peoples lives. More and more we have become aware that technology should also be respectful of core democratic values such privacy, equality, or non discrimination, and advance important rights such as free speech, or the right to vote. The values are widely shared by academic institutions as temples of higher learning, free exchange of ideas and inquiry.”

“We can and should harness innovation to advance technologies that have the potential to further our shared democratic values, including privacy, freedom of expression, access to information, transparency, fairness, inclusion, and equity.” said Dr. Eric Lander, the President’s Science Advisor and Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.

“It’s not a guarantee that any given technology will support democratic values. It takes constant vigilance, and constant commitment; we, the people, have to make sure that technology is developed responsibly and used responsibly. That is our solemn obligation.”
Dr. Eric Lander, the President’s Science Advisor and Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy