Generative AI may favor autocracy over democracy


There are many risks that Generative AI pose to democracies, analysts suggest:

The opaqueness of AI algorithms at the back end may suppress legitimate political discourse while favoring established opinions  Generative AI could worsen the news ecosystem and lead to significant financial stresses on news outlets  In autocracies, the checks and balances on using AI will be absent  The growth of AI, state capacities, economic benefits, and maybe even military capability could evolve unevenly as a result, tipping the scales in favor of authoritarian governments…

A recent discussion (above) at the National Endowment for Democracy’s International Forum for Democratic Studies examined challenges and opportunities for deepening democratic engagement in AI governance.

Elizabeth Kerley (Forum) shared key findings from an International Forum report, Setting Democratic Ground Rules for AI: Reflections from Civil Society. Natalia Carfi (Open Data Charter) provided comments and shared further insights on opportunities for promoting democratic approaches to AI. Ryan Heath (Axios Global Technology Correspondent) moderated the discussion.

Will AI End Democracy?‘ was the question raised in a recent  symposium in The Journal of Democracy:

  • AI with superhuman abilities could emerge within the next few years, warns Yoshua Bengio. We must act now to protect democracy, human rights, and our very existence.
  • Generative AI can flood democratic societies with misinformation—sowing confusion for voters and government officials alike, write Sarah Kreps and Doug Kriner.
  • Science fiction may soon become reality with the advent of AI systems that can independently pursue their own objectives. We need to establish guardrails now, writes Tom Davidson.
  • AI is set to become a new stage for geopolitical conflict. In this contest, explain Eddie Yang and Margaret E. Roberts, autocracies have the advantage.
  • AI will transform work and entire economies, bringing dire risks of rising inequality and job losses. But the worst outcomes can still be avoided write Stephanie A. Bell and Anton Korinek.
  • Advances in AI are rapidly disrupting the foundations of democracy. We must reinvent our democratic infrastructure, argues Aviv Ovadya, to fit a different technological world.
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