issues and experts

Global experts on ethics, AI and new media highlight Digital Democracies conference

May 13, 2019

Simon Fraser University will bring renowned international experts and artists to present their latest research at Digital Democracies: Artificial Publics, Just Infrastructures, Ethical Learning from May 14 to 16 at SFU’s Vancouver campus. The conference will discuss topics including ethics and machine learning, internet platforms and the public sphere and decolonizing infrastructures.

Media artist and culture jammer Igor Vamos, one half of performance-artist duo The Yes Men, will deliver a keynote presentation moderated by Wendy Chun, SFU’s Canada 150 Research Chair in New Media, on Tuesday, May 14.

Conference events and workshops are free but require registration.



The Internet has been blamed for many things: the rise of cyberbullying, extremist groups, hate speech and global disinformation networks that undermine the results of local elections; the fragmentation of the public sphere into echo chambers, which foster conspiracy theories and mistrust of institutions; enabling world-wide surveillance systems that compromise user privacy and rights.

Digital Democracies: Artificial Publics, Just Infrastructures, Ethical Learning will convene experts in ethics and artificial intelligence, digital journalism, global infrastructure, critical race and digital media, information science, architecture, indigenous studies, contemporary art and communications to tackle these pressing issues.



  • May 14-16
  • Times vary according to date. See program.



  • SFU’s Vancouver campus, Harbour Centre
  • 515 West Hastings Street, Vancouver



Numerous reports and studies have forecast ominous statistics regarding the current state of misinformation in digital platforms and public discourse:

  • Globally, 73 per cent of people are worried about false information or “fake news” being used as a weapon. (Edelman)
  • 70 per cent of Canadian internet users are concerned that fake news could impact the outcome of the next federal election. (Canadian Internet Registration Authority)
  • 48 per cent of Canadians say that they have seen fake news stories, significantly lower compared to the U.S. and most other countries. (Ipsos)
  • The Government of Canada recently announced an investment of $7 million towards improving the resilience of Canadians against online disinformation. (Open Parliament)



Igor Vamos and Wendy Chun are available for interviews on Tuesday, May 14. To arrange interviews

contact Ian Bryce.



As Canada's engaged university, SFU is defined by its dynamic integration of innovative education, cutting-edge research and far-reaching community engagement. SFU was founded more than 50 years ago with a mission to be a different kind of university—to bring an interdisciplinary approach to learning, embrace bold initiatives, and engage with communities near and far. Today, SFU is Canada’s leading comprehensive research university and is ranked one of the top universities in the world. With campuses in British Columbia’s three largest cities – Vancouver, Burnaby and Surrey – SFU has eight faculties, delivers almost 150 programs to over 35,000 students, and boasts more than 150,000 alumni in 130 countries around the world.

Simon Fraser University: Engaging Students. Engaging Research. Engaging Communities.