Technological progress in Software Engineering, Distributed Systems and AI is accelerating social, political and economic change at an unprecedented pace. In addition to my theoretical research on the mathematical foundations of computer science (logic, category theory) I am also interested in the impact that software engineering has on society.

One of the many important question that our civilization faces (which include climate change and biodiversity loss) is the interplay of technology and democracy. Much is being written about democratic decline and how it is related to changing technology.

My current working title for this topic is Democratic Governance. In the following, I list some books that help me to understand the issues around this topic. The kind of solutions I am looking for should take into account Jevons paradox which makes it unlikely that technology (alone) will be the solution, Gall’s law which emphasizes the importance of choosing the right direction rather than to hope for revolutionary change, and Goodhart’s law which implies that any solution must build on democracy, diversity and inclusion.

Currently Reading

US History

The United States have run an amazing experiment in democratic governance. How did it come about and can we make it work in the future?

The Alignment Problem (Technology/Society/Ethics)

How does technology drive societal change? How can we align technology (and the economy) to human values?


Collapse and Flourishing

What can the collapse of former civilizations tell us about today? How fragile is our current economic system? How close are our societies (and the natural ecosystems in which they are embedded) to tipping points? In the long run, how do we conceive of a flourishing humanity that lives in balance with the natural ecosystems on which our life depends?



Are our societies able to take global warming seriously as long as corporate interests dominate politics? Is rising inequality an inevitable consequence of our current economic system? Are capitalism and democracy compatible in the long run?


Why did humans evolve to cooperate? Why did humans evolve the ability to reason? In which societies and institutional frameworks does cooperation flourish? How do culture and psychology and economics influence each other?

Democracy, Oligarchy, Political Science

Why is democracy declining and authoritarianism on the rise? What conditions make democracy work? Can we employ modern technology to strengthen democracy?


In the wake of the murder of George Floyd there has been a fierce debate about systemic racism and how it manifests itself in the economy, in education, the military, police, etc. But what even is the system? In a first approximation, I would say the system is the law.

Philosophy and Ethics

The paradox of market economies (epitomized by the slogan “Greed is Good”) is that markets work best if they serve intrinsic values. But what are intrinsic values and how can we agree on them? Even seemingly technical questions (how to account for externalities, which economic activities to include in the GDP, etc) ultimately are ethical questions. There is a widespread feeling that utilitarian ethics is not sufficient, but what are the alternatives?


History studies how societies change, a topic that was never more important than today.