In the ever-changing landscape of modern democracy, CDDRL’s Deliberative Democracy Lab (DDL) stands at the forefront of a movement to promote greater civic engagement and foster meaningful dialogue among citizens. Alice Siu, the Lab’s Associate Director and a senior research scholar at CDDRL, recently took the stage at TEDxStanford to present a talk titled "Deliberative Polling®: Changing the Tides of Democracy."
This year's TEDxStanford event, centered around the theme "Changing Tides," focused on pivotal moments and ideas capable of altering the course of history. Alice was among the nine speakers, comprising a mix of students and faculty, invited to share their insights on transformative topics. Her contribution to the event was an outgrowth of the groundbreaking work she and her team have been doing with Deliberative Polling® and the America in One Room project.
Alice's talk was a call to action for society, presenting a compelling case for the power of deliberative democracy and Deliberative Polling®. As democratic backsliding continues to challenge democratic institutions worldwide, her talk offered a glimmer of hope, demonstrating how the practice of deliberation and engaging with diverse perspectives can alleviate some of our most pressing societal issues.
Deliberative Polling® is a unique approach to engage citizens in constructive dialogue and decision-making. It involves gathering a representative sample of citizens, providing them with access to expert information, and giving them the opportunity to deliberate on key issues. Deliberative Polls have been conducted all over the world, and the evidence Alice shared in her talk illustrates their effectiveness in reducing polarization and fostering consensus.
“What we are doing now at our Lab is trying to bring deliberation to scale,” Alice said in her talk. DDL seeks to bring people together and create opportunities for meaningful engagement through both in-person and virtual means. Their AI-assisted Stanford Online Deliberation Platform, a collaboration with Stanford Professor Ashish Goel and his Crowdsourced Democracy Team, is a pioneering tool in this endeavor. Through technology, they aim to build deliberative societies where people from all walks of life can come together to tackle pressing issues, leading to informed decision-making and collective action.
In a world where division and polarization seem to be the order of the day, Alice's talk offers hope for a new era of citizen engagement where informed, rational discourse supersedes partisan bickering.