In the face of a century of traditional polling to predict public opinion, there is a shakeup afoot in the prediction game. Margin of Error: AI, Polling and Elections examines how a startup called Advanced Symbolics (ASI) uses artificial intelligence (AI) and public social-media data to forecast voter behaviour. But the promise of new technology also comes with questions about its accuracy, the threat to citizens’ privacy and our democracy itself.
Every one of us volunteers a huge amount of private data with virtually every Internet service we use, without reading or understanding the terms of service. This data can now be harvested by AI to accurately predict among many other things, how we will vote.
Even without surrendering personal information, the new AI algorithm Polly, developed by ASI, combs social media to build profiles of different demographics and determines their preferences.This method has already led to Polly’s success in predicting both the 2016 Trump victory and Brexit. With the 2019 Canadian federal election campaign as a real time back drop, Margin of Error puts Polly to the test revealing how an AI doesn’t just give a detailed picture of the publics voting intentions, but also how specific events can alter them.
But will knowing what our hopes and concerns are, give politicians the intel they need to respond to our needs, and lead to a “utopian” society, as ASI’s CEO Erin Kelly claims, or can this data be misused to mislead us – either by our own governments, or those of our adversaries? And should politicians even be responding to our desires, as expressed through social media?
In 1991 the northern section of Somalia declared itself an independent democratic state, since then Somaliland has struggled on its path to find international recognition while the rest of Somalia has become infamous for anarchy and violence.
Somaliland: An Experiment in Democracy follows the 2012 election spotlighting the difficulties of running an election in an undeveloped country with a fragile infrastructure. While threats from outside (including terrorism and piracy) and inside (such as factionalism and vote rigging) loom over the process, one man is tasked with keeping the election fair.
We follow Ali – an ex-investment banker from Toronto – who gave up his old life to run the electoral commission, and it is through him that we see the scale of the challenge facing Somaliland’s nascent democracy.
Somaliland: An Experiment in Democracy is a close up look at how democracy functions under difficult and unfamiliar circumstances, and gives an insight into why so many countries fail in their attempts to have a system based on popular representation.
“A thoroughly captivating window into history as never told by the winners — beautiful, enraging, profoundly inspiring.” Naomi Klein
June 28th, 2009. The Honduran people are preparing to vote in the first referendum in the country’s history. But, instead of waking up to ballot boxes, they see soldiers carrying out the first coup d’état in Central America in three decades.
This is the story of the two thousand farming families who challenged the coup by taking over the plantations of the most powerful landowner in the country and converting them into worker-run cooperatives.
Shot over four years, the film is both a testament to the capacity of an organized movement to transform the most fertile land in the country, as well as an account of the coup regime’s violent attempts to get the land back.