AI tech and autocratic rulers’ alignment of purpose


Dictatorships and authoritarian regimes tend to trail more democratic and inclusive nations in fostering cutting-edge, innovative technologies. But artificial intelligence may prove an exception, at least in China, says David Yang, an associate professor of economics at Harvard, citing a recent U.S. government ranking of companies producing the most accurate facial recognition technology. The top 5 were all Chinese, writes Harvard’s Christy Desmith.

“Autocratic governments would like to be able to predict the whereabouts, thoughts, and behaviors of citizens,” Yang said. “And AI is fundamentally a technology for prediction.” This creates an alignment of purpose between AI technology and autocratic rulers, he argued.

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