Against Bot Democracy: The Dangers of Epistemic Double-Counting

Against Bot Democracy: The Dangers of Epistemic Double-Counting

by Ana TanasocaCentre for Deliberative Democracy and Global Governance

The article focuses on the question of how each of us should deliberate internally when forming judgements. That is a matter of political consequence, insofar as those judgements stand behind our votes. I argue that some violations of epistemic independence like message repetition can, if the receivers are not aware of the repetition, lead them to double-count information they have already taken into account, thus distorting their judgments. One upshot is that each of us should ignore or heavily discount certain sorts of inputs (e.g., bot messages or retweets) that are likely just to be repetition of what we have already taken into account in our internal deliberations. I propose various deliberative norms that may protect our internal deliberations from epistemic double-counting, and argue that opinion leaders have special epistemic duties of care to shield their audiences from clone claims.