New Institute at Georgetown to Translate Science on Tech, Media and Democracy into Policy

Justin Hendrix is CEO and Editor of Tech Policy Press. The views expressed here are his own. Georgetown University, June 2022. Shutterstock Last week, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and Georgetown University announced a $30 million commitment to create the Knight-Georgetown Institute (KGI), “a new institute to serve as a central hub for the growing network of scholarship that seeks to shape how technology is used to produce, disseminate and access information.” The institute will be physically located at 500 First Street, NW, in Washington D.C., about a ten minute walk from the U.S. Capitol. “The need to understand the ways technology impacts our information production systems and our democracy is vital to our shared futures,” said Georgetown Provost Robert M. Groves. I’m enthusiastic about this new institute. Tech Policy Press is similarly committed to a mission of policy debate and discussion grounded in science (and has been a beneficiary of the Knight Foundation’s support for efforts in this regard). Whether the question is how to regulate social media or what to do about the potential harms of artificial intelligence on information systems, it’s crucial that science informs policy. From media effects to the behavior of populations in networks, the impact and interaction on and between people and technological systems is immensely complicated, and often counterintuitive. “In recent years, Knight has invested deeply in new scholarship that can animate the policies and practices that promote democracy through enhanced access to trustworthy civic information online,” John Sands, Knight…New Institute at Georgetown to Translate Science on Tech, Media and Democracy into Policy