Informations and abstract
Keywords: public opinion – Habermas – democracy – discourse principle – ICT – Internet – mass media – AI – big data – neointermediation.
According to Habermas, an ideal democracy should consist of rational discursive processes, of «virtuous» communication mechanisms. Nonetheless, how can these mechanisms be achieved in the presence of the great expansion of digital media? This paper aims at pointing out that, compared to Habermas’ prescriptive standards, Web 2.0 seems to add up the “shortcomingsµ (intended as pitfalls to citizens’ autonomy) of face-to-face communication (typical of agorà or eighteenth-century coffee houses) with those of mass media communication (typical of newspapers or TV channels). In fact, while face-to-face communication encourages strategic action but it is not top-down, and mass media communication is top-down but it promotes agreement-oriented communicative action, ICTs both present vertical aspects (suffice it to mention the asymmetry of power between new intermediaries and individual users) and allow forms of strategic action with a computing power and precision never seen before.