[Video Archive] Special Symposium with Professor Lawrence Lessig "Social Networks and Democracy considered through the War in Ukraine" (held on June 24, 2022)


As part of "Platforms and '2040 Problem' Project", one of the pillars of KGRI's "Research Project Keio 2040", together with the Cyber Civilization Research Centre (CCRC) co-hosted a symposium on "Social Networks and Democracy considered through the War in Ukraine". This symposium was part of the "MUFG Endowed Course: Rebuilding of 'Trust' towards Sustainable Society: '2040' and beyond" and the "ZHD Endowed Course: The Platform Economy and the Sustainable Society."

When the war in Ukraine began to unfold, we saw the deployment of psychological manipulation strategies via social networks by those in power. At the same time, people are also using social media platforms as a means of resistance against the infringement of sovereignty towards democratic nation-states. Are social networks a tool to defend democracy or a threat to its existence? Is it still possible to sustain democracy after the emerging conflicts in the digital space?

We invited Professor Lawrence Lessig of Harvard Law School, who was one of the first to raise awareness on this situation shaking the very foundation of democracy, and also an author of the world-famous book "CODE" (original edition, 2000), as a guest speaker of this symposium.

In the discussion, Yusuke Narita (Assistant Professor, Yale University), an advocate of democratic innovation through data algorithms, Yoko Hirose (Professor, Faculty of Policy Management), who analyzes Russian hybrid war strategy through her research on the Caucasus region, Tatsuhiko Yamamoto (Professor, Law School & Deputy Director, KGRI), who critically studies human rights and governance in the age of AI, and Jiro Kokuryo (Professor, Faculty of Policy Management & Chief Administrator, CCRC), who examines the new order of digital society from a business model perspective and also moderated the discussion addressed the future of network spaces and democracy after the war in Ukraine.

The video archive of the symposium is available below.

※Read Event report "here"

※See below for the previous research activities by KGRI and Lawrence Lessig:
KGRI Great Thinker Series in December 2019
CCRC/KGRI Research Project Keio 2040/JST co-hosted "The Change of Media and Democracy in Digital Society" in December 2021
KGRI Great Thinker Series in June 2022
◆ KGRI Working Paper (coming soon)

◆ Opening Remarks
Masayuki Amagai (Vice President of Keio University)
◆ Introduction
Tatsuhiko Yamamoto (Professor, Law School & Deputy Director, KGRI)
◆ Keynote Speech
Professor Lawrence Lessig (Roy L. Furman Professor of Law and Leadership, Harvard Law School)
◆ Panel Discussion
◇ Moderator
Jiro Kokuryo (Professor, Faculty of Policy Management & Chief Administrator, CCRC)
◇ Commentary
Yusuke Narita (Assistant Professor, Yale University)
Yoko Hirose (Professor, Faculty of Policy Management)
Tatsuhiko Yamamoto (Professor, Law School & Deputy Director, KGRI)
◇ Discussion
◆ Closing Remarks
David Farber (Co-Director, CCRC & Distinguished Professor)
◆ Emcee
Haluna Kawashima (Project Associate Professor, KGRI)

【Video Archive】
The symposium started with opening remarks by Masayuki Amagai. Tatsuhiko Yamamoto continued with an introduction. The emcee of the event was Haluna Kawashima.

Keynote speech by Lawrence Lessig. He called the war in Ukraine a "crowdsourced war" and indicated the fundamental problems of social media in the current situation. Discusses "What configurations of the media might make democracy possible?"

Subsequently, a panel discussion was conducted moderated by Jiro Kokuryo. Through comments by Yusuke Narita, Yoko Hirose, and Tatsuhiko Yamada, universal issues on social media, which are not limited to Russia and Ukraine, are revealed. How should we respond? Each speaker presented their own views.

The symposium was concluded with closing remarks by David Farber.

※Affiliations and job titles are as of the date the event was held.