Technology is developing at such a rate that policymakers and even the tech experts themselves cannot predict its impact on civil society. In today’s world, new and emerging digital products are rushed into the hands of consumers in that same way that trial drugs are administered to guinea pigs.
There’s no doubt that many of these digital technologies can help build a brighter future for humanity – but it’s also beyond doubt that new technologies can deepen inequality, reduce liberty, and create entirely new forms of digital exploitation across the world.
To address such threats, citizens and consumers usually demand regulations and standards. But the digital world is fast-moving and complex, and ordinary people are neither equipped with the knowledge to demand change, nor empowered to speak directly to governments and corporations about the technologies they use.
United Citizens helps ordinary people understand the issues surrounding the technology they use. By accelerating our understanding of technology’s impacts, we can begin making smart, collective decisions that prioritise humanity’s needs in the digital age.
Informed citizens are able to make ethical judgements about their personal use of technology. But organised citizens can unite to take these judgements to the centres of power: lobbying governments, boycotting tech companies, and calling for a more humane digital age.
We provide the tools that citizens need to strike back against any injustices they perceive in new technologies. We equip citizens with information, and help them organise their demands – and in doing so, we build the civic power that’s sorely needed to solve the problems created by digital technologies.
A new kind of civic participation, harnessing the power of collective wisdom and the instant connectivity of the internet. Today, the new centres of power are organised around data. To redistribute that power to citizens, we’re using data sourced from the crowd to inform smart, agile, digital campaigns.
We believe that no one holds all the answers – but everyone holds a fragment. Each citizen has important knowledge, experiences and ideas to share – and United Citizens will help shape those contributions into a crowdsourced consensus that guides our actions and optimises our impact.
Our volunteers source and share important information, resources and tools from across the internet, and our members help us craft citizen-led responses to the issues they care most deeply about. By handing civil society the powerful tools offered by digital technology – like networked sharing, instant polling, wiki-style editing and online virality – we are co-creating the future we all believe is possible.
In everything we do, we’re informed by the following fundamental principles:
Inclusive – Our community is free for anyone to access, and will facilitate the participation and discussion that will enable all members to contribute to a consensus view. We engage indiscriminately with individuals, communities, businesses, and governments.
Evidence-based – Our work is informed by reliable evidence, from which we’ll collectively make measured and effective decisions.
Action-oriented, impact-focused – The goal of our discussions will be to create and put into action campaigns focused on achieving maximal impact.
Ever-evolving – Our community and our approach will continually evolve in order to continue to achieve maximum impact from our actions. We will experiment with new forms of digital democracy and organisation to achieve consensus.
Digitally-inspired – We will learn from the digital world to optimise our impact. We will aim to deploy the best features of the digital world – like crowdsourcing, upvoting, whistle-blowing, data mining and hacking – to support our work.
Universal Accountability – We believe everyone has a part to play in achieving our goals. We will hold everyone accountable for the issues we seek to address – from individuals to communities to institutions.
Political Neutrality – We do not favour a particular political ideology beyond our belief in the value of the UN Charter of Human Rights as a foundation for building a human-focused digital age.
"The good news is that we've been through such profound shifts before. The bad news is that each time, we have failed to exploit them effectively."
"What I try to focus on is not to try to stop the march of technological progress; instead, I try to run faster"
"Technology happens. It’s not good, it’s not bad. Is steel good or bad?"
"The saddest aspect of life right now is that science gathers knowledge faster than society gathers wisdom"
'Change' is scientific, 'progress' is ethical; change is indisputable, whereas progress is a matter of controversy