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Frequently asked questions

Email us if you'd like more info (join@fourth.group).

What would you like to know?

What is a citizens’ inquiry?

This refers to the process of having action-oriented conversations with citizens on issues, with the view to understanding problems from real and diverse experiences, and to develop practical responses to those problems.

What is the digital age?

It is a term used to describe new technological changes that the world is experiencing right now. These technologies include social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram), gig economy apps (Uber, Deliveroo), the internet of things (Amazon Echo, smart cars, smart cities), and exponential developments in artificial intelligence (Google DeepMind, Xiaoi). Digital technologies are changing the way we live, work, and play, and brought huge disruptions to our economies and societies.

Why are we doing this?

Digital technologies are transforming the way we live, work, and play. Businesses are responding by innovating new products and services, and governments are responding by investing in the digital economy and developing new laws and regulation. How are citizens responding? How should citizens respond? What does it mean to be a citizen in the digital age? What actions can citizens take? These are some of the questions The Fourth Group’s inquiry into citizens in the digital age will provide insights on.

Throughout history, citizens have organised and mobilised to tackle societal problems, securing fair wages, banning children working in factories, winning the ability to vote. We have the power to change things. Today, citizens have campaigned on new issues such as social media echo chambers, fake news, privacy, and data misuse. The recent response to the Cambridge Analytica exposé demonstrates that we are the cusp of a public awakening to the new dangers brought about by exponential advancements in digital technology. The Fourth Group ran a petition calling for Mark Zuckerberg to testify in front of US and UK authorities and to investigate violations by other third parties, a campaign backed by 174,295 people.  This inquiry will uncover other issues citizens care about, and provide guidelines on ways in which they can take action for impact and real change.

What do we seek to achieve?

This inquiry aims to do the following:

• Uncover citizens’ rights and responsibilities in the digital age;

• Understand what citizens believe is the impact of technology on their lives;

• Understand what citizens believe are the forthcoming issues global society will face;

• Develop a global agenda for citizens to rally around;

• Develop solutions in the form of policy, technology, and civic action, and;

• Build an organised group of citizens worldwide who will take forward this agenda.

Throughout the inquiry, our mission is to renew and strengthen global citizenship worldwide, and respond to the major challenges posed by the fourth industrial revolution.

How can I get involved?

As a global citizen, you can participate in the following ways:

• Submit your views on what the major problems are online or at one of our focus groups;

• Submit your views on the solutions to these problems online or at one of our focus groups;

• Share our survey with friends, family, and colleagues through email, social media, and word-of-mouth;

Organise an offline conversation in your community, and/or;

• Propose partnerships through your professional work and network by emailing join@fourth.group.

How do I run an offline conversation in my community?

It’s really simple:

1. Bring a group of people together in a space. It could be your community centre, your place of worship, your workplace, your home, or in the streets.

2. Have one person help facilitate the conversation by introducing what the inquiry is about.

3. Ask everyone what their answers are to the questions (as below). Remember to take notes of the conversation. It is important to note down the key points made by people, and if there’s a powerful point from sometime, try to note it down word for word.

What are citizens rights and responsibilities in the digital age?

What is the biggest problem caused by technology?

What can we practically do to respond?

4. Send your notes and responses to join@fourth.group.

Done! It’s that simple. Four simple steps to hosting a conversation in your community.

Who's making this happen?

The Fourth Group

The Fourth Group is running this inquiry with partners. The Fourth Group is a global community of people in politics and technology, established to respond to the major problems caused by the fourth industrial revolution.


The Fourth Group team are organising the Inquiry.

Advisory Steering Group

The inquiry is supported by an advisory steering group, including:

  • Malini Mehra (CEO, GLOBE Legislators)
  • Jon Barnes (Author, Democracy Squared)
  • Toni Cowan-Brown (Vice President, NationBuilder)
  • John Lazar CBE (Former CEO, MetaSwitch Ltd)
  • Tanya Filer (Cambridge Institute for Public Policy, University of Cambridge)


We wouldn’t be able to do the inquiry without the support of the following amazing organisations. Thank you to all of our partners for working with us to make it happen. If you would like to partner with us, email join@fourth.group.

Solutions Partner

We have partnered with the Global Social Entrepreneurship Network who are working with us to identify solutions provided by social entrepreneurs worldwide.

Media Partner (for Politics Summit 2018)

We have partnered with Quartz who are working with us to promote the inquiry and engage a global audience through our annual flagship event, Politics Summit 2018.

International Partners

One Young World, the global forum of young leaders.

Network Capital, a global community of over 32,000 leaders from 104 countries.

Regional Partners

Africa: Pan African Human Rights Defenders, a community that promotes and protects peace in the region.

Europe: Newspeak House, who nurture emerging communities of practice in the public sector & civil society, will help engage citizens in Europe.

Oceania: University of Queensland

South America: Democracy.Earth, which is building a decentralised digital democracy.

Southeast Asia: Kumu.ph, an app that helps people find communities, discover new stories, and stay in touch with loved ones.

Explore more.

Submit your views.

Host a community conversation.

Partner with us.

Any questions? Email us.