Abstract

Abstract:

In this essay, drawn from the 2017 Dewey lecture for the John Dewey Society, I argue that a positive response to the question raised by nine scientists in a Scientific American essay, "Will Democracy Survive Big Data and Artificial Intelligence?", February 25, 2017, requires a different kind of politics, citizen-centered, educative, productive, and empowering, as well as places to learn and practice such politics. Drawing on Dewey's 1902 speech, "The School as Social Center," I suggest schools embedded in communities as potential "free space" for citizen politics which transforms the widespread sense of victimhood into civic agency. This kind of politics in community-embedded schools can counter what Robert Kanigel calls the "Credo of Rational Efficiency" that drives civic unravelling, growing powerlessness, and a Manichean politics, accelerated by Big Data and Artificial Intelligence. Manichean politics is especially corrosive and disempowering and derives from the fact that hatred is the most efficient emotion to activate for cheap, quick political results. The essay details examples of citizen politics and signs of public interest in schools as free spaces.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1559-1786
Print ISSN
1085-4908
Pages
pp. 13-47
Launched on MUSE
2017-12-23
Open Access
No
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