Artificial Intelligence and Digital Repression: Global Challenges to Governance

Posted: 9 May 2019

See all articles by Steven Feldstein

Steven Feldstein

Boise State University, School of Public Service; Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

Date Written: April 18, 2019

Abstract

Across the world, artificial intelligence (AI) is showing its potential for abetting repressive regimes and upending the relationship between citizen and state, thereby exacerbating a global resurgence of authoritarianism. AI is a component in a broader ecosystem of digital repression, but it is relevant to several different techniques, including surveillance, censorship, disinformation, and cyber attacks. AI offers three distinct advantages to autocratic leaders: it helps solve principal-agent loyalty problems, it offers substantial cost-efficiencies over traditional means of surveillance, and it is particularly effective against external regime challenges. China is a key proliferator of AI technology to authoritarian and illiberal regimes; such proliferation is an important component of Chinese geopolitical strategy. To counter the spread of high-tech repression abroad, as well as potential abuses at home, policy makers in democratic states must think seriously about how to mitigate harms and to shape better practices.

Keywords: artificial intelligence, digital repression, authoritarianism, human rights, democracy, technology

Suggested Citation

Feldstein, Steven, Artificial Intelligence and Digital Repression: Global Challenges to Governance (April 18, 2019). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3374575

Steven Feldstein (Contact Author)

Boise State University, School of Public Service ( email )

1910 University Drive
Boise, ID 83716
United States

Carnegie Endowment for International Peace ( email )

1779 Massachuesetts Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC 20036
United States

HOME PAGE: http://carnegieendowment.org/experts/1314

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