Technology plays a major role in today’s politics. President Barack Obama’s 2012 election made waves with its revolutionary use of voter data. Appointing the first Chief Technology Officer in history, the reelection campaign offered a peek at the role that technology like analytics and GPS data could play in an election. By 2016, this approach was highly refined, and technology was a staple in the campaigns of both Hilary Clinton and Donald Trump.
The majority of users report a positive relationship between social media and political action. It takes only moments on a site like Facebook to see how it’s become a major platform for sharing political views in the aftermath of the 2016 election. Not wanting to miss the opportunity to form important connections, 98 percent of congress is now on at least one social media platform.
Social media is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the intersection of politics and technology. Politicians have a growing arsenal of tech tools at their disposal to help them analyze the nation’s mood and other important elements of the current landscape.
Neuropolitics is the latest innovation in this area. Though still largely experimental, neuropolitics have the potential to offer a vast new range of insights into the thoughts and feelings of the American public. This practice uses technology like biofeedback, facial coding, and brain imaging to better understand what people are thinking and feeling. If the technology is successfully honed, something as subtle as a well-placed camera could collect a wealth of data about how citizens are feeling.
The intersection of politics and technology is an area fraught with potential conflicts of interest and privacy concerns, and future leaders will need to tread lightly to navigate it well. You can get a deeper look at these issues with this infographic from the University of Southern California.