Citizenship and Technology Painting
Wessel Reijers

CitTech: Global Citizenship and Technology

Abstract

Emerging technologies change the institution of citizenship and reconceptualize membership and belonging. While the scale of this transformation is unknown, new technologies are already blurring the lines between physical and digital, local and global. Law enforcement agencies employ Artificial Intelligence (AI), data mining, and machine learning to create an algorithmic identity that uses online activity to predict “digital citizenship”; genetic advances expand the understanding of ancestry and migration history—which has been labelled “genetic citizenship”; states use AI and big data technologies for “citizenship gamification”; and blockchain undermines the concept of the state and enable the creation of a decentralized “cloud citizenship.”

CitTech analyzes the institution of citizenship and the transformation it is undergoing in the digital age. It addresses two simple yet important questions: a) What are the impacts of emerging technologies on citizenship regimes?; b) how could emerging technologies contribute to the notion of global citizenship? At first, it reveals the digitalization of citizenship in its four dimensions—status, rights, identity, and participation—and explores how new technologies remodel the essence of citizenship, bring about new forms of governance, and redefine the concepts of sovereignty and state. It then highlights the potential of technology to develop a new concept, “global e-citizenship”, as complementary to, rather than a replacement of national citizenship. It sets out the concept’s theoretical foundations, moral justifications, and institutional designs, and examines the implications for contemporary theories and practices of citizenship. On the whole, CitTech invites us to reflect on the opportunities and the challenges that will shape citizenship regimes in the 21st century.

Research fields

Citizenship Theory | Law and Technology | Global Migration | Digitalization
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ERC Acknowledgement

Duration: 2017 - 2022

Sub-Projects

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Matching Algorithms
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Matching Algorithms

The project explores the idea of using matching algorithms for the preselection of future citizens and debates the technological and normative challenges of such a system.

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DigGlobReg
whiteMocca/Shutterstock

Digital Global Registry

The project explores a new concept, “global e-citizenship”, examines the concept and the political and technological challenges in its implementation, and investigates its legal status.

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CSC II
Shutterstock/Wit Olszewski

Social Credit Systems

The project seeks to underscore utopian and dystopian directions for future development of citizenship in the context of so-called Social Credit System (SCS).

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Cloud Communities
Sam Schooler/Unsplash

Cloud Communities

This project examines the concept of “cloud communities” as a platform in which individuals can create political communities, participate in decision-making, and have a political voice.

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Citizen Gamification
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Citizenship Gamification

The project brings to the fore core questions related to digital demos and investigates ethical implications of citizenship gamification.

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ERC Acknowledgement

This project has received funding from the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme  (grant agreement No 716350)

Output

Book Talk on Blockchain and the Law with author Primavera de Filippi (CNRS/Berkman Klein Center, Harvard University)

Keynote speech by Lawrence Lessig (Harvard Law School) introducing the first workshop on 'Emerging Technologies and the Future of Citizenship'